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Dear boss, here's how you can help me stay healthy!

By Dhruv Gupta
Last updated on: October 07, 2014 17:25 IST
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This is how employers can help their workers stay fit and productive

 

The urban lifestyle has left no room for employees to work on their health leading to weight gain, which is also a budding ground for common lifestyle diseases like diabetes, blood pressure, heart risks and more. Maintaining a healthy heart is vital for the overall well-being of an individual and companies can easily initiate awareness about healthy lifestyle behaviours among employees with these 7 tips:

Focussed awareness

Most young professionals know about heart disease, but they aren’t really aware of its causes or what impact their lifestyle choices have on their heart.

Alternatively, you can publish a monthly newsletter around tips on healthy living or the health cause health.

To create awareness among employees, pick a heart healthy cause and put informative posters in offices, cafeteria, and other such locations related to that cause. The posters should be attractive and creative enough so that employees pay attention to what you’re promoting; employees can read these information during breaks they take from work.

Company wide assessment

Health risk assessment is also a great way to get feedback from employees on their lifestyle. This will also allow you to understand the risk areas were they actually need to work, so that you can get your employee wellness programme designed accordingly.

Assessment can be done through online questionnaires, regular health screening and other health activities. This can be a great starting point for an organisation to start a wellness programme.

Weight management programmes

When Indians gain weight, their tendency to contract heart diseases increases exponentially. That’s why the Indian Health Ministry has lowered the standards for being overweight (The international standard for being overweight is if your BMI (Body Mass Index) is over 25 kg/m2, but for India it is now 23 kg/m2.

Most people want to lose weight, but don’t know how to start. If you don’t want to get counsellors to come into the office, there are many online weight management programmes, which provide fitness coaching.

Make Smoking Harder

Smoking has a direct impact on heart health, besides your risk of other diseases. If having a designated smoking zone is a must for you, then try to keep away from the premises, because physical distance might reduce chances of smokers walking up to the smoking zone for a puff.

Lots of young professionals are willing to quit smoking, so partner with your smoking cessation buddy.

Help manage stress

Similar to smoking, stress can also affect one’s heart adversely. It’s difficult to reduce stress, but it’s possible to help employees manage stress better. Employee recreational programmes, bringing in stress management experts and creating buddy partners are some of the ways that can help employees manage stress.

Encourage physical activity

This one not only helps improve heart health, but also helps reduce mental stress. Many office facilities like gyms go under-utilised. It’s important to help employees understand the value of these facilities, and encourage participation.

Highlight food with labels

Indulging in unhealthy foods once in a while is fine, but one thing that most of the people do not realise is that most of the food items they eat on daily basis can be extremely harmful for their health and can also have adverse effect on heart health.

To generate awareness about good and bad foods, you can start labelling the food items available in offices, like ‘high sodium content’, ‘increases cholesterol’, ‘rich in trans fats’, etc.

Surely employees will make their own choice, but at least they will make a more informed choice rather than picking something unhealthy due to lack of knowledge.

These are some of the simple ways to start employee wellness programmes in your office, that can surely help you do your bit in promoting a heart healthy atmosphere at work places.

Photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters 

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Dhruv Gupta