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September 25, 2008

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International- US workplace health programmes get Americans moving

More than 900 businesses across the US have been recognised by the American Heart Association’s Start! Fit-Friendly Companies programme for promoting physical activity and health in the workplace — a 20-per-cent increase since last year, PR Newswire reports.

Most adult Americans spend a majority of their waking hours at work – many in sedentary careers – increasing their risk of medical problems such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Start! aims to develop a corporate culture of physical activity by motivating employees to walk during their working day. It targets both individuals and companies and focuses on walking because it has the lowest drop-out rate of any form of physical activity. The Association provides free toolkits to companies that want to implement a worksite walking programme.

Other options to encourage physical activity and good nutrition include on-site walking routes, healthy food options in cafeterias and vending machines, annual employee-health risk assessments, and online tracking tools.

“Physical inactivity is an epidemic in our country – we just don’t get enough exercise,” said, Dr Timothy Gardner, president of the American Heart Association, and medical director of the Center for Heart and

Vascular Health at the Christiana Care Health System in Delaware.

“Physical activity is one of the best preventive health measures there is, and people who find ways to incorporate more walking into their lives gain health benefits.”

The Association’s chair Dave Josserand added: “Employees participating in wellness programmes experience fewer sick days, improved quality of life, and higher job satisfaction.

“Wellness programs will continue to play an important role in the health of Americans in years to come. The evidence that participating employees realise health benefits is key. Research shows that businesses can save as much as $16 for every $1 they spend on health and wellness.”

The list of 2008 Start! Fit-Friendly Companies and more information about the initiative is available at the link below.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.

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