Announcing The Wellness Paradox weekly podcast
A new podcast launched today that explores the growing rift between the public's knowledge on leading a healthy lifestyle with the decline in the population's actual health.
Alum, lecturer, and Applied Fitness Solutions CEO Michael Stack (MVS '04) is collaborating with the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology to produce The Wellness Paradox, a weekly podcast that explores this paradox and offers solutions to help change the world’s view on health.
"COVID has helped us realize the importance of public health more than ever, and I have always been on the preventative end of public health by being in the fitness industry," Stack said. "Likewise, the School of Kinesiology has been on the preventative end of public health, and I’ve had the opportunity to study all the potential public health has to not just make people healthy, but to flourish."
Stack's podcast gets its title from the relationship between the knowledge of how to live a healthy lifestyle and the ever-increasing rates of chronic lifestyle diseases, mental health issues, and the "seemingly fragmented, disparate public health system in our country," he said.
"We know so much and we’re capable of accomplishing so much with regard to human well-being, yet we seem somehow incapable of scaling that to the masses and achieving a level of wellness and flourishing that the science would allow us to do," Stack explained. "My approach is to be very clear about the challenges we’re facing and why we’re facing them; at the same time, I want to be sure we are highlighting the individuals and organizations actually addressing the issues as a way to put the conversation out there about what can be done."
The podcast features interviews from guests in all areas of health, including lifestyle medicine, non-profits focusing on food insecurities and social health detriments, mental health, and epidemiology just to name a few.
"In the university community we have so many amazing things that are going on across campus that we hear about and probably a million things we don’t hear about," Stack said. "I think highlighting those is important, and if this is a conversation I want to start and it is awareness I want to generate, I know full well I can talk to many more people using the power of the Block M to initiative those conversations."
Venturing into this arena feels instinctive for Stack, who originally planned to major in journalism at U-M before switching over to kinesiology. His idea kicked into overdrive when he helped plan the School of Kinesiology Allied Health Speaker Series, which took place in the summer of 2020. He spent the rest of the year and the beginning part of 2021 working with his team at Applied Fitness Solutions and School of Kinesiology staff members developing the podcast.
His first guest is Dr. Tom Rifai, founder of the Reality Meets Science system and a physician expert in the areas of lifestyle medicine and metabolic health coaching for wellness, weight loss, and disease prevention. Stack and Rifai discuss how intensive lifestyle change programs can be used to revolutionize healthcare delivery, improve human flourishing, and help address the wellness paradox.