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Clinical Articles, News & Views

What can employers do to protect workers’ heart health?

Workers in Wales feel they’re putting their heart health at risk due to the pressures of their job, according to a new survey by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).1

The BHF survey found two in five Welsh workers (40%) feel their job has had a negative impact on their health in the last five years, with almost two thirds (61%) saying their general stress levels have increased in the same time period due to their work.

When asked how their work has ever affected their health:

  • Over a third (37%) of Welsh workers say they think they have put on weight, with almost half (46%) saying their job has driven them to eat more unhealthily
  • More than two fifths (43%) say their work has caused them to exercise less than they would like
  • Nearly a third (31%) say their job has led to them to drink more alcohol and one in twenty (5%) saying it’s been a trigger for smoking more.

The survey also showed almost three fifths (59%) of Welsh employees regularly do unpaid overtime, with almost a third (31%) working more than five hours overtime a week. The pressures of work are leaving people concerned about their long-term health with almost a third (31%) fearing it could lead to a heart attack or heart condition.

The BHF says that employers encouraging their workforce to take as little as 10 minutes every day to improve their health at work can lead to significant benefits in employee heart health and productivity.

Lisa Young, Project Manager for the BHF’s Health at Work programme, said: “This survey is a stark reminder of just what happens when we don’t take our health at work seriously enough. Millions of people say they are smoking more, exercising less and putting on weight because they’re not considering the impact their job is having on their health and wellbeing.”

“Behaviours like these can be extremely damaging, not just to your heart health but also to businesses. From working with over with 9,500 organisations we know that the payoffs of making health at work a top businesses priority are too great to ignore,” she added.

The BHF’s Health at Work programme offers free expert advice to employers to help improve the health and productivity of their workforce. More than 9,500 organisations have already benefitted, helping their workers get active, eat well and reduce their stress.

For more information on the BHF’s Health at Work 10 Minute Challenge, visit http://www.bhf.org.uk/health-at-work/

Published on: February 25, 2015

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