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April 9, 2013

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Two-thirds of workers drop out of NHS health campaign

An Olympics-inspired pilot aimed at encouraging NHS Wales staff to improve their health recently came to an end, with just over a third of the workers who signed up to the campaign seeing it through to the end.

The Champions for Health campaign encouraged NHS Wales employees to commit to two healthy lifestyle challenges and monitor their progress over a six-month period, enabling them to see improvements in their own health. More than 450 workers actively engaged with the scheme to improve their health, out of more than 1300 who originally signed up to participate.

The campaign, which launched in August last year, aimed to build on the energy and excitement created by the Olympic Games. Through their involvement, it was hoped NHS Wales staff would inspire their patients and the public about the importance of leading healthier lifestyles.

They were asked to make two of the following five lifestyle changes: drink safely; take regular exercise; eat healthily; stop smoking; and work towards a healthy weight. Participants set their own challenges and reported on their progress online at regular intervals throughout the six-month period.

Initial results from individuals who recorded more than six weeks’ progress in the top three selected challenges show that:

  • a total of 332 staff achieved a combined 3600 weeks of exercising for 150 minutes, or more;
  • of the 302 people who committed to working towards a healthy weight, 52 achieved their goal, with 250 making progress towards a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) range; and
  • around 120 people who signed up to eat healthily consumed more than 58,000 portions of fruit and vegetables between them.

Commenting on the results, Dr Ruth Hussey, chief medical officer for Wales, said: “The campaign has taken a fresh and innovative approach to improving the health of the population. By leading by example, staff also have been able to show their patients and the public that even small changes can make a big difference to their health and well-being.

“The campaign also underlines, however, the challenge we face in Wales to engage people in health improvement.”

Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Ambassador Lord Coe added: “It’s great that so many people were inspired by the Games to challenge themselves to adopt more healthy lifestyles. I would like to see the Games’ legacy being a long-lasting one over the next ten years and beyond.”

Staff were able to share experiences and support each other via online forums, a dedicated website and social media. They also received weekly motivational e-mails and text messages containing fitness and health tips from the campaign mascot, ‘Will Power’.

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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