What is vitality?
Vitality is the capacity to pursue life with health, strength, and energy.
It is not a fixed state of being. Rather, vitality conveys an active approach to living that can be improved or depleted.
Why is vitality important?
The last few years have crystallized the need for a more comprehensive approach to health—one that values, promotes, and prioritizes well-being while also treating sickness and disease.
Individuals, employers, and health care providers have the power to influence vitality and make a direct impact on health and productivity. But until now, little has been done to help people understand how to access and improve vitality within themselves. By increasing the understanding of vitality through the lens of whole person health, we can open doors to small and large improvements to well-being.
How do we measure vitality?
We partnered with psychologist Dr. Richard Ryan, one of the world’s leading experts on the science of human motivation and vitality, to develop the Evernorth Vitality Index.
The Evernorth Vitality Index combines the leading academic scale, the Subjective Vitality Scales (SVS), with newly developed subscales, and is anchored in Self-Determination Theory (SDT).
SDT presents three basic human needs that, when fulfilled, motivate, engage, and drive optimal wellness:
Autonomy—A sense of initiative and ownership in one’s actions.
Competence—The feeling of mastery and a sense that one can succeed and grow.
Relatedness—The feeling of being connected and supported.
The Evernorth Vitality Index does more than measure current health and behaviors. It delves deeper to look at individuals’ impressions of their own efficacy across dimensions of health.
The dimensions of a health that impact one’s vitality are physical, spiritual, emotional, environmental, social, occupational, financial and intellectual.
What does all this mean?
This means that even individuals experiencing chronic health conditions or financial hardship can experience vitality and improving their vitality would likely help them manage those situations. It also means that physically healthier individuals or those with strong social connectivity can experience lower vitality. And that they too can benefit from actions that increase their vitality.
The Evernorth Vitality Index also allows us to identify opportunities across dimensions of health to enhance vitality and it enables us to better understand how individuals living with disease or suboptimal personal, financial, or environmental conditions can live a happy and healthy lifestyle.
How are we using the Evernorth Vitality Index?
As a next generation measure of whole person health, future applications are profound and far-reaching. It can be utilized to track vitality levels over time, identify disparities and provide a path to understand and influence what enhances vitality for an individual or a population.
Current research shows that the Evernorth Vitality Index can serve as a reliable measure of whole person health, and could be applied to employer populations to inform investments in workforce health and engagement strategies.
Today, the Vitality Index is used for research purposes as Evernorth continues to explore and redefine the future of the health.