health & wellness

Where Traditional Wellness Initiatives Fail

You can’t undo a Big Mac with a salad.

You can’t undo five sleepless nights with a weekend in bed.

And, according to the American Heart Association, you can’t undo sitting at a desk for eight hours with vigorous exercise.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with exercise. But as the American Heart Association points out in a recent review, “Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels.”

Understanding the significance of increased movement – in the form of walking – is critical to making substantive changes in people’s lives.

According to the AHA’s findings: “Interventions focusing solely on reducing sedentary behavior appear to be more effective at reducing sedentary behavior than those that include strategies for both increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviors.”

The American Heart Association’s conclusion: “Absence of sufficient data to recommend qualitative guidelines, it is appropriate to promote the advisory, ‘Sit less, move more.’”

In an article in The Atlantic summarizing the AHA’s report, James Hamblin writes, “And by ‘move,’ they mean almost anything that is not sitting or reclining – anything that increases your metabolism to 1.5 times that of being absolutely still. Which is a very low bar. ‘Leisurely walking’ is close to 2.5, while gardening… is closer to four.”

Sit less, move more. It’s a prescription that’s easy for anyone to grasp, and it’s far more likely to resonate among those who lead sedentary lifestyles (a.k.a. the 20-percent accounting for 80-percent of healthcare costs).

Sadly, this strikes at the very heart of why traditional health and wellness initiatives miss the mark. Health club memberships, fitness trackers and 30-day challenges are all very nice – but they don’t connect with the most at-risk members. They do nothing to make something as basic as “increased movement” a healthy habit for those who are sedentary.

Sit less, move more. Any organization looking to make a life-changing impact on the health and wellness of others needs to consider using a program that embraces this very fundamental concept.

CARROT Founder Named to New OU Health Sciences Board

Oakland University’s School of Health Sciences has named CARROT Founder & CEO Michael Antaran to its new Board of Advocacy and Resource Development (BOARD). BOARD was formed to help support academic, research and community engagement programs in interdisciplinary health sciences, clinical and diagnostic sciences, public and environmental wellness, and human movement science.

“Our BOARD membership provides an impressive array of experience and connectivity reaching across Southeast Michigan,” said Dr. Kevin Ball, who serves as dean and professor for the School of Health Sciences.

“This is a great honor,” said Antaran. “The other members are among the very top of their fields, and each brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the School of Health Sciences. I’m excited and looking forward to contributing as best I can to the group and university.”

Antaran is one of 14 members of the Board of Advocacy and Resource Development. Other BOARD members include:

  • Reyna Colombo, director of rehabilitation at Beaumont Troy;
  • Kathy Forzley, director of the Oakland County Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Arthur Griggs, retired from a 30-year career at Oakland University as assistant vice president of Academic Affairs;
  • Darryl Hill, senior vice president of safety at FirstGroup of America;
  • Dr. Robert Jarski, professor emeritus, lecturer and research advisor at OU students;
  • Greg Jordan, director of University of Recreation and Well-Being at Oakland University;
  • Ewa Matuszewski, CEO and a co-founder of MedNetOne Health Solutions and a champion of innovative primary care and chronic care initiatives;
  • Telva McGruder, director of Global Facilities Engineering and Manufacturing Operations for General Motors;
  • Moon J. Pak, a medical physician and the founder of OU’s health and medical programs;
  • Tom Spring, director of Wellness and Community Programs for the Health Alliance Plan of Michigan;
  • Teresa Stayer, vice president at Spectra Med Inc.;
  • Rheanne Suszek, executive director of the North Oakland Family YMCA; and
  • John Waugh, system vice president for the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine product line in the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

“The members of our Board of Advocacy and Resource Development are each committed in their own careers to help bring about positive change in community health and well-being, and collaboratively, we will now accelerate the ability to provide exceptional experiential learning opportunities for our students,” Ball added.

CARROT Users: 20,000 Purchases (and Climbing!)

“Black Friday”, “Small Business Saturday” and “Cyber Monday” are familiar to most shoppers.

Perhaps “CARROT Wellness Wednesday” should be added to the list.

This past Wednesday, CARROT Wellness users surpassed the 20,000-mark in total purchases on the free app.

“This number is staggering, far exceeding our wildest expectations,” said CARROT CEO Michael Antaran. “When you consider that it took less than 11 months to get this kind of traction, it’s really unbelievable.”

The CARROT Health & Wellness program was made available on the Apple and Google Play stores in January 2016. Purchased items include digital gift cards, physical goods, exclusive discounts, and entries into free prize drawings.

“We’re humbled by the support and enthusiasm we’ve received from users in our first year,” Antaran said, “and it’s driving us to add new, even more engaging features in the months and years ahead.”

CARROT Wellness can be found on the app store here.

Is Your Wellness Program Hitting the Mark?

Are the employees in your company truly happy with its wellness program? And is that wellness program easy for the company to manage and deliver?

Unless the answer to each question is “yes”, a new wellness solution is probably needed.

According to a recent article (“Wellness trends raise eyebrows in 2016” by Heather Caspiin) at, many wellness initiatives – despite a greater commitment in resources and financial incentives – fail to hit the mark.

"It isn’t just about driving (or even forcing) more participation, but rather about facilitating smarter interactions that are targeted, timely, relevant, etc. to engage the consumer and influence their behavior,” said Steve Auerbach, CEO of Alegeus, which provides consumer directed healthcare solutions.

From the perspective of a benefits delivery provider, “We see growing complexity as employers use a variety of incentives to include premium variations and different plan designs (deductibles, coinsurance, etc.) for different levels of participation,” Eric Helman, chief strategy officer at Hodges Mace, added. “While we have seen these tactics raise participation, they can also contribute to employee dissatisfaction and administrative complexity when the benefits delivery platform is not up to the task.”

Most wellness programs would love to say that they are designed to be simple and easy-to-use for both the participant and program manager; In reality, CARROT Health & Wellness is one of the few that can make that claim.

The entire program is managed through the CARROT Pass app, giving the employer complete control of incentives which can be created, updated and deleted at any time. For participants, CARROT couldn’t be more convenient – the program in conducted exclusively on the user’s smartphone. Participants can monitor their activity progress on a specially-designed “Activity” tab, and all rewards are redeemed directly on CARROT. Additionally, there are no reporting requirement for participants – aggregated steps and redemption data are shared with the employer seamlessly through the app.

More information about CARROT Health & Wellness is available at

To read the article, visit

CARROT: A Dynamic New Health & Wellness Program

The customer, they say, is always right… so when multiple companies contacted us about the possibility of using CARROT to motivate their employees to be more active, well, we listened! And that’s why we are excited to have developed the new “CARROT Health & Wellness Program”. CH&W offers features and advantages that no other program can match.

  • PERSONALIZED:  Thanks to CARROT’s proprietary technology, activity goals are customized to the participant and updated daily. Rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach (which typically only engages the healthiest members of a population), CARROT’s personalized program incentivizes and benefits ALL participants!

  • INSTANT GRATIFICATION: CARROT features a company-branded Rewards Center which gives the employer the opportunity to post special offers, incentives, discounts, etc. Rewards are redeemed right on the app. (The Rewards Center would ONLY be accessible to the company’s employees!)

  • HYPER-LOCAL:  The employer can leverage the CARROT Merchant Network by inviting local businesses to support its CARROT program. Those businesses offer exclusive discounts to the employees in exchange for CARROT Reward Points. (This unique feature is free, benefitting the local economy as well as the employee population.)

  • CUSTOMIZED:  The employer is in complete control of its CARROT program with the ability to create/update/delete rewards at any time. 

  • ENGAGING: CARROT can send automated messages directly to the lock screens of participants to celebrate accomplishments and encourage continued progress. The employer also has the ability to send messages to the lock screens of participants.

CARROT can work with current wellness vendors and existing programs to help support all population wellness & employee engagement strategies. Also, because of CARROT’s mix of technologies and program strategies, purchasing wearable devices (such as pedometers or Fitbits) isn’t required. 

To learn more, check out the Health & Wellness section on our site, or click here to contact the CARROT Team.