Executive Wellness Programmes – Why The Traditional Model Might Be Flawed


Keeping executives performing at their peak is essential for the success of any company but as many businesses have begun to realise, personal factors can have as much of an impact on an individual’s performance as anything that happens at the office.

Looking for a holistic solution to this, many companies have turned to executive wellness programmes, which promise to work within the constraints of their clients’ busy schedules and deliver tailored solutions to ensure executives remain healthy and performing well.

These programmes can include diet and exercise consultations, preventative screening, comprehensive check-ups and a medical history review.

Up to now, these programmes have been fairly standardised without significant differentiation based on individual needs. An aspect that could offer a much more tailored and personal approach is genetic testing, With genetic insight into aspects of weight management, chronic disease risk and athletic performance, practitioners are better able to prescribe specific wellness, health and exercise programmes that suit the individual.

John Jutzen, chief strategic officer of Kaelo, which runs employee wellness and lifestyle programmes as part of their larger offering, says that the benefits of incorporating genetic testing are extensive. “Tests like DNAlysis are quick, easy and non-invasive, and therefore participation is high,” says Jutzen. “The results are broad in terms of categories and they’re meaningful, and the feedback is personal, specific and professional, with realistic, do-able interventions.”

Richard Sutton, an author and health and performance educator and consultant, who advises to top athletes, Olympic teams and international sporting federations, says that typical executive wellness programmes are repetitive and limiting, and have a ‘copy and paste’ approach.

Sutton, who uses DNAlysis tests in his practice, says that more personalised and focused testing like this, can bring out the best in people, and create higher performance. He’s seeing that owing to the scientific nature of genetic tests, clients show a “remarkable commitment” from the onset because the results are so specific, and not generic, as one might find from the traditional wellness programme model.

“Genetic testing is at the scientific forefront of health research and development,” says Sutton. “The results form the basis of a lifestyle intervention plan that can lead to better health, a better diet and a better lifestyle.”

He considers genetic testing the “way of the future” when it comes to treating mental health issues. “One in four people is suffering from depression in South Africa, which, in the work sense, results in loss of productivity and a huge burden on companies. An objective measure like a DNA test can yield positive mental changes by looking at someone’s potential for mental illness (through the DNA Mind test), and how well certain medication could work for them (through the Medcheck test).

Dr Danny Meyersfeld, founder of DNAlysis, confirms the increasing levels of interest being seen within the corporate and executive wellness space. “as the costs of these tests have come down, so this type of technology has become more accessible to a broader spectrum of the population. As such, these tests now fall within the budget of many companies looking to better manage the health of their employees or executives”

Executive wellness packages can be tailored to the needs of the client. For more information, contact admin@dnalysis.co.za