There are many reasons for confusion in the wellness industry but perhaps the biggest one is specialization. By that I mean that very few of the folks who make all of these “expert” recommendations have a broad knowledge of wellness. Doctors rarely understand diet and exercise but specialize in using drugs and procedures to preserve or restore health. Dietician’s generally at best understand diet. Fitness trainers are primarily trained to coach exercise. Professors of epidemiology understand how to study whole populations and make generalizations about whatever they are studying. Behavioral health specialists have some understanding of crucial factors like motivation, influence, habit, stress and addiction. It’s rare for one of these specialists to have a comprehensive knowledge of the field. What is now becoming clear to me is that confusion reigns because of lack of broad knowledge about what makes us healthy. One must understand all the moving parts because none of these issues are isolated. For example, I’ve frequently noted the cascade of poor health resulting from the low fat diet which was once nearly universally recommended. Why did that happen? It was in part because of specialized and thus incomplete understanding among the “experts”. Epidemiologists observed that certain indigenous populations which ate little fat had low rates of heart disease and therefore recommended low fat diets for everyone. Doctors and dietitians agreed. Low fat in a culture of processed food turned into high carb which resulted in insulin resistance which led to obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipids and ultimately a diabetes epidemic which is causing heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, loss of limbs and much more which is resulting in lost quality of life, lost work, lost loved ones, lost dreams and is bankrupting our country. We need to develop true experts in wellness whose understanding is both broad and deep! The doctors, nurses, trainers and nutrition experts at VitalSigns would love to help lead the way! We are fortunate to have an increasing network of friends around the country who share this vision. The visit to St. John’s College with my son inspired me to clarify thoughts on these issues. For that I am thankful!