Employers are best placed to encourage healthy lifestyles, say world health experts
David Woods, September 24, 2009
The World Heart Federation, The World Health Organisation and The World Economic Forum have joined forces to call on governments and employers worldwide to make their workplaces healthier.
Speaking in Geneva, in the lead up to World Heart Day on 27 September, Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, said: "The World Economic Forum has identified chronic diseases as a major global threat for human lives and for economic growth and development, over the coming 10 years.
"Some of the world's leading companies, members of the World Economic Forum, have ongoing workplace wellness programmes. In addition to improving health and wellbeing, this also makes good business sense, given that productivity losses due to chronic diseases have been estimated to be four times greater than the cost of their prevention or treatment."
Experts from the organisations agreed workplaces are an ideal setting to encourage healthy lifestyles as most people spend over half their waking hours working.
This year's call is to "Work with Heart". Small changes, such as bans on smoking, making more fruit and vegetables available at canteens, and encouraging workers to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine, can make a big difference in terms of better health.
These measures help prevent not just heart disease and stroke but also other conditions such as diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory disease which together cause 60% of all deaths worldwide.