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Health Talk Recommends: “Creating a living lab for health and wellness”

Photo: Sheraton

If you were to set about solving the world’s foremost health problems, the logical place to start is to determine how something becomes a problem in the first place.

But defining a problem almost always relies on data. And all that data has to come from somewhere.

Earlier this week, Fast Company offered a look at one such somewhere: Lake Nona, Florida.

According to writer Ariel Schwartz, Lake Nona is currently home to 7,000 people, many of them working in the health care industry.  Continued sector growth should push that number upwards of 50,000 people in the coming years.

That’s a lot of people centralized to one location, and to enterprising researchers a potential goldmine in health data.

In an attempt to seize such an opportunity, Johnson & Johnson’s Wellness & Prevention Inc. wants to create a longitudinal health and wellness study using Lake Nona’s population. (Think a 2012-esque iteration of the Framingham Heart Study.)

According to Schwartz the group is set to dive pretty heavily into the pools of health data forming by way of Lake Nona’s populace simply living their lives.

“That means looking at biomarker and genetic assessments to predict the likelihood of disease, but also studying online personal health assessments from the residents. Wellness & Prevention isn’t just sitting on the sidelines, observing people throughout their lives–it also plans on intervening with real-time coaching and advice.”

The group will also do more than just observe:

“Wellness & Prevention can also intervene in Lake Nona’s many health care settings, potentially controlling how care is provided for the better. Among the initiative’s goals: improving modifiable risk factors for disease, cutting down on chronic disease rates, and reducing participants’ RealAge by 10%. In other words, the initiative is attempting to turn a slice of Orlando into a model of health for the rest of the country (and the world) to follow.”

For more on the potential of the Lake Nona initiative, check out Schwartz’s piece on Fast Company’s site.

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