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The Oxford Health Alliance | www.oxha.org
 
'Work with heart'
   
 
27 Sep 2009 | World Heart Day 2009 theme of workplace health
| 27 September 2009

As part of the World Heart day 2009 celebrations, the World Heart federation newsletter publication Heart Beat has featured articles on the China and Mexico CIH sites as examples of workplace intervention projects - click here >> 

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To coincide with the annual World Heart Day, which this year focuses on workplace health, the World Heart Federation has published the following  tips for employers and employees.

A workplace wellness programme does not need not be complex or expensive.

Many businesses have recognised the importance of employee health to achieve core business objectives  and have committed to include health promotion on their corporate agenda. However, it is still mostly large corporations that offer workplace health programmes.

In smaller businesses or where people are self-employed, it is the individual who has to take action.

Tips for employers:

  • Offering information to workers, such as leaflets telling people about the risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
  • Establishment of health policies, e.g. no tobacco use in the building.
  • Encouraging good eating habits, e.g. offering information about the calorie and fat content of canteen food, adding more whole grain meals, natural products, fruits and vegetables on the menu.
  • Encouraging workers to exercise during their breaks. A moderate amount of exercise – at least 30 minutes a day – can reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Offering easy access to drinking water for employees, partners and suppliers in office buildings, outdoor worksites and  in meeting rooms.

Tips for employees:

  • Healthy food intake – Eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Make smart choices, like choosing the ‘healthy menu’ in your canteen or bringing your own food from home.
  • Get active and take heart – Even 30 minutes of activity can help to prevent heart attacks and strokes  and your work will benefit too. Take the stairs, go for a walk during your break, or get off the bus a couple of stops earlier and walk the rest of the way.
  • Use less salt and avoid processed foods – Try to limit your salt intake to about a teaspoon per day. Be wary of processed foods, which often contain high levels of salt.
  • Say no to tobacco – Your risk of coronary heart disease will be halved within a year and will return to a normal level over time.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – Weight loss, especially together with lowered salt intake, leads to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major factor for approximately half of all heart disease and stroke.
  • Know your numbers – Visit a health-care professional who can measure your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, together with waist-to-hip ratio and Body Mass Index. Once you know your overall risk, you can develop a specific plan of action to improve your heart health.

Source: WHF website.