Beating the bulge at Rossendales
The 2008 Health Survey for England highlighted that 61.4% of adults were overweight, and of this, 24.5% were obese. It is estimated that the cost to the NHS will be £6.3 billion by 2015.
In addition to this, it is predicted that if no action is taken, 60% of men and 50% of women would be obese by the year 2050.
Obesity is associated with a number of illnesses including ‘type 2’ diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and some studies have even shown that severely obese individuals can die up to 11 years earlier than their healthier counterparts.
Given this high health risk associated with excess body fat, it is vital that we take a proactive approach in tackling the problem.
The workplace has been identified by the Department of Health as just one of the many key areas in the drive to achieve a healthy weight for all.
The general overall ambition is to have workplaces that promote a healthy environment providing better incentives for health and a setting in which health care professionals can deliver programs to prevent and manage obesity.
Employers are now starting to be recognised as partially responsible for the health of their workforce since the workplace culture and environment can have an indirect impact on a person’s health.
Almost three quarters of the population is in employment, spending an average of 40% of their wakeful time in the workplace.
This fact in itself makes the workplace a very accessible and convenient environment for employed individuals to partake in health education and interventions.
The workplace also provides opportunity to participate with friends and co-workers with increased support for behaviour change.
Workplace health promotion/interventions may also be beneficial from a managerial perspective. Advantages may include increased productivity, better employee morale, improved recruitment, retention of valued employees, enhanced cooperate image and potentially reduced sick leave costs.
Rossendales fully endorses this philosophy and has engaged the services of a dietician to work with the members of its diet club to promote and motivate healthy weight loss.
She has organised the club members in to two teams and has them competing against each other.
The board has provided a day in a spa for the winning team. Competition has a positive effect on diet and weight loss as, five weeks in, the teams have lost a combined weight of 176lbs (12 stone!) and are motivated to lose more.
Rossendales promotion of a healthy workplace has been such a huge success that they are launching their own ‘Rossendales Healthy Workplace’ web site to encourage participation from all its employees and their families.