By NORA AVERY-PAGE
H&N Staff Reporter
Staff at Sky Lakes Medical Center are hoping a new health promotion video goes viral.
The video, which was shot over a weekend in September with about 50 staff members from the medical center, is set to the hit song "On Top of the World" by Imagine Dragons, follows 9-year-old Sophie Lyman as she races through the hospital building to discover people doing a variety of healthy activities. Sky Lakes Wellness Video On Top of the World
"It was actually kind of a fun experience," said Sky Lakes spokesman Tom Hottman, who helped direct the video along with patient access representative Jonathan Doud.
The script, and the message behind the video, started with the desire to raise awareness about some scary health statistics.
According to the American Heart Association — citing former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona — today's children are the first generation to have a lower life expectancy than their parents because of health problems associated with obesity.
Obesity can lead to health problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, low self-esteem and depression, said Dr. Stephanie Van Dyke, the medical director of the Sky Lakes Wellness Center, who helped plan out the video.
Obesity is also expensive, Van Dyke added. Citing a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, the global cost of obesity is $2 trillion, she said. The report also says about 1/3 of the world's population is overweight or obese, and predicts that number will increase to half the global population by 2030, she added.
The solution for curing obesity, which she does consider a disease, doesn't solely come from a hospital or doctor's office, Van Dyke said. The solution comes from schools, restaurants, infrastructure and other places outside the hospital, she said.
"I think we just wanted to get that out there," Van Dyke said.
Starting with those statistics, the goal for the video was to raise awareness about the antidotes to obesity: diet and exercise, Hottman said.
For Doud, it was important not to scare people, and instead, stick with a positive message. It doesn't work to tell people "you can't do this, or you can't do that," but is more encouraging to see people in the community making healthy choices themselves, he explained.
The challenge, however, was to express that message in an attractive way, said Van Dyke's partner at the wellness center, program director Katherine Jochim Pope.
After several revisions to the script, the group decided to start from a sedentary location inside, before transitioning to an outside location, using young Sophie as the thread to the story. Sophie is Doud's sister-in-law, and previously starred in the Ross Ragland Theater's community musical production of "Lés Misérables" as young Cosette.
A lot of work went on behind the scenes, both before and after the footage was shot, Hottman said. Van Dyke and Pope worked on mountains of paperwork, including securing the rights to the Imagine Dragons song, hospital staff Cindy Moore and Irene Holmgren planned the dance choreography, and Doud spent hours in the editing room, Hottman said.
"The end result is 4 minutes and 12 seconds, but it was hours and layers of preparation," Hottman said.
Van Dyke and Pope also worked hard to keep the video participants enthusiastic and engaged throughout the long shooting process, Hottman said. The Greek chorus dancers, which included Van Dyke, Pope, Moore, Holmgren, retired doctor Glenn Gailis, and Dr. Geoff Marx, were particularly dedicated.
"They were good sports; they worked hard without complaint," Hottman said, adding they may have been a bit too enthusiastic: the dancers had bruises on the tops of their thighs at the end of the day from slapping them repeatedly as part of the routine.
On the back end, Doud estimates he spent at least 40 hours editing the first draft of the video, followed by probably 15 more of revision.
"I think it turned out rather pointed," Doud said, adding that he likes how the message focuses on the importance of being proactive about your health.
Hottman hopes the video is an entertaining way of encouraging people to focus on their health and make positive changes in their lives.
The video also fits with the Sky Lakes mission, showing that the organization itself is committed to the health and well-being of the community, and of its employees, said Van Dyke and Pope.
They are also grateful for the support and enthusiasm from the Sky Lakes employees, Pope added.