Mark Zuckerberg and the Influence of Businesses on Health Initiatives


Mark Zuckerberg has made it his personal goal to help himself and others live a healthier, more enriched life. Last year, the Facebook co-founder encouraged people to join him in reading a series of books that took a deep look at the social and financial differences throughout the world. For 2016, however, Zuckerberg is taking a more physical approach, and he is once again inviting everyone to join him. Those who choose to participate will find themselves tasked with running one mile a day from now until December 31, 2016.

This goal is minimal for people who are already runners, but it could definitely help today’s non-runners improve their health and develop a long-term physical fitness routine. Although Zuckerberg’s name has helped his running challenge attract a lot of media attention, he is far from the only business owner to place an emphasis on using their platform to advocate for health and wellness. In fact, there are numerous companies worldwide that have sponsored health initiatives, many of which have been combined with a charitable cause.

A prime example of this popular practice is the Roots, Rock, Run 5K event that is part of the annual Roots Picnic in Philadelphia. Retail clothing store Jimmy Jazz was one of the sponsors for the 2015 run. Part of this sponsorship involved donating shoes to children in need. When you combine this with encouraging local residents to run or walk a 5K, it is easy to see the health benefits that were generated by this particular sponsorship.

Small to mid-sized companies often offer their support to short-term health initiatives such as a 5K because it is an easy way for them to help out while also receiving free publicity. Big companies are well-positioned financially do much more, though, and an increasingly larger number of them are heeding the call.

Coca-Cola launched their Active Healthy Living initiative in 2010. Since that time, the soft drink manufacturer has focused on offering transparency by making their nutritional information easy to find and understand. Additionally, a variety of different sizes have been developed to help people take better control of their soft drink portions. Coca-Cola is also an active participant in several health-related charities, including the Columbian Goals for a Better Life program and the Coca-Cola Health Camp in South Korea.

Health insurance companies are also stepping up to help people meet their fitness and health needs. This type of collaborative work makes perfect sense because businesses that sell health insurance are able to make a bigger profit when their customers eat nutritious meals and workout regularly. WellCare Health Plans provided Macon, Georgia, with $15,000 in October 2015 for a variety of health and wellness initiatives, including the development of several community gardens.

More recently, the national hospice pharmaceutical provider Delta Care Rx has joined forces with Four Seasons Compassion for Life to create a new 12-week internship program for hospice nurses. The purpose of this partnership is to assist nurses with their transition into hospice care, which will ultimately improve the remaining quality of life for each of their patients.

This wide variety of health initiatives showcases the impact that a business of any size can have on their local community. Larger companies that are able to devote more time and money into their charitable health-related efforts often branch out into statewide, nationwide or even global initiatives. However, something as simple as sponsoring a small 5K can make a big difference in the lives of many people.






Jade Rich