Employers can and should act to sway the obesity crisis (News Release 01.04.16)

As latest reporting now suggests that a fifth of the world’s population will be obese by 2025, with Britain on track to be the worst in Europe, health initiative BHWA advises employers that they have the power to influence the obesity crisis and it’s in their best interests to act.

According to Majid Ezzati from Imperial College, who led the research, smart food policies and improved healthcare training can help us to avoid an “epidemic of severe obesity”. However, considering the potential impact such an epidemic would make to any workforce, the Better Health at Work Alliance (BHWA) cautions that employers should not remain indifferent to the power of their influence.

Better Health at Work Alliance is an industry led advice body recently launched to make finding health at work guidance straightforward for employers. They have advised that straightforward steps an organisation should be looking at include access to healthy food options, promoting an active workplace, providing information on being healthy and incentivising staff to follow it, or making adjustments to the work environment that encourage behavioural change such as standing desks, walking clubs or bike racks. But it doesn't stop there. 

Charlotte Cross, Director of BHWA, says of the recent news: “Obesity is relevant to all employers and can impact the bottom line of any organisation through obvious health ramifications and associated productivity and performance issues. As the obesity problem grows, employers will inevitably face more of these challenges."

"We urge employers to take a proactive stance as this epidemic will not be solved without their involvement. A change in attitude needs to fall into all elements of our society, and the workplace is no exception."

"While simple measures can and should play an important part in any employers approach, the diversity of our expert membership shows us that employers have access to a significant range of evidence based solutions from workplace health specialists ready and willing to help, and the power to make an impact is in employers' hands. So we're appealing to all organisations to get involved and sway this issue which has huge ramifications for the UK working population".

Raising the link to dementia, one of the lesser known health ramifications of obesity and yet another serious issue for employers, John Picken, Managing Director of CANTAB Corporate Health, a BHWA founder member said: “Worldwide clinical research has shown that obesity in mid-life plays a considerable role in cognitive impairment including preclinical dementia symptoms and dementia.  Giving employees the chance to measure their cognitive health as well as their physical health will help them manage this life-threatening but potentially reversible health risk.”

Mark Braithwaite, Managing Director of Gipping Occupational health, another Founder of the alliance also said: “When dealing with obesity, or any other health taboo, it is key to ensure consistency of response throughout the organisation so that no individual feels inappropriately ‘singled out’. 

Providing access to impartial advice and guidance from a qualified health professional, such as an OH Advisor, enables employees to talk openly, learn and improve management of their own health and ultimately take responsibility, whilst equally providing support to the employer in working towards a positive outcome.”

BHWA is the UK workplace health industry’s first broadly inclusive membership body which launched in Feb 2015 and led by Director Charlotte Cross. Offering access to solutions, information, and guidance via a simple one-stop website, users will be able to tap into expert knowledge through free resources including an ‘Ask the Expert’ forum, collaborative wikis, and guides. BHWA brings together a wide range of leading workplace health specialists and already has the endorsement of over 30 key industry organisations.

 

This news release was first circulated to media and social networks on behalf of BHWA members on Friday 1st April 2016

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BHWA Testimonials

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Game Changer

The Alliance has huge potential to simplify Occupational Health for employers and providers alike. Therapy Direct Healthcare now has a greater opportunity to help with physiotherapy and MSK services throughout the OH Arena.  We think the BHWA can be a game changer in our industry.

Ross Tomkins, Clinical Director, Therapy Direct Healthcare
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This has got to be good news

We’re really pleased to be part of this important new initiative. The health of workforce has never been more important than now and so an initiative which helps make health and wellbeing services more accessible has got to be good news. We look forward to working with BHWA and promoting these important services to employers.

Paul Guy, PayPlan
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Forward Thinking

As the CEO of Medigold Health, I am delighted we are Founding Members of BHWA. I believe a forward-thinking initiative like this is long overdue in the health and wellbeing at work sector, which is sometimes guilty of being too inert.

As pioneers in occupational health, we are excited to be part of an alliance which is at the forefront of championing and developing our industry via the specialists, organisations and individuals that work within it.

I am personally a firm believer in collaboration being the key to success ultimately, people learn from people.  This principle underpins many of the features of BHWA’s offering and this shared ethos is what first attracted us to contributing.

Alex Goldsmith, CEO, Medigold Health
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Perfect Vehicle to Help

We're excited to work with BHWA as we believe that more can be done by employers to engage with their staff and promote wellness at work. 

BHWA is the perfect vehicle to help and encourage employers to introduce health and fitness initiatives to help reduce absence and ultimately increase productivity

Paul Healey, Managing Director
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Worth making time for

This initiative is worth making time for. It will encompass a superb blend of specialists, underpinning every essential to modern and progressive workplace health. As working environments now demand so much more from us all, it’s excellent to have effective solutions made readily available, providing Employers with access to so many ideas to help them thrive and stay competitive.

We’re happy to share our expertise and proud to be Founders. I’m looking forward to being part of an enjoyable community and building many strong and lasting working partnerships.

Mark Braithwaite, Managing director, Gipping Occupational Health
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Proud to be a founding member!

We must always work hard to understand the changes our clients are going through and the challenges they face. BHWA will link employers with providers to support that journey. We’re proud to be a founding member of the Alliance, which will bring together the many different disciplines involved in OH and wellbeing, promote OH to both small and large employers and help us bring more innovation to the field.

Eamonn Swanton, Chief Executive, Heales Medical
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Enhancing awareness of workplace health

The BHWA is a great initiative. We look forward to working with fellow experts and organisations to enhance the awareness of workplace ergonomics and its ability to significantly improve the performance and health of businesses and their staff

Clyde Crawford, Director, Ergability
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Essential practical resources that support customers and experts alike

We're proud to support the BHWA's mission to provide essential practical resources that support customers and experts alike. By pioneering this venture, which is the broadest if its kind to date, the resulting sharing of information and opportunities to network will open up a new world of communication which is vehemently needed - in a space which we might not otherwise have.

Maygen Carruthers, Medgate UK – Founder member
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Exciting Initiative

As soon as we knew of this exciting initiative, we wanted to get involved.  There is a growing understanding that cognitive health determines what work we can do and for how long. Sharing our expertise and knowledge through the BHWA platform is a great way to help everyone make informed decisions.

John Picken, MD Cantab Corporate Health – Founder Member
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A ‘Must’ in today’s fast pace working environment

Caer Health are delighted to be a founding member of the BHWA, bringing workplace health specialists together to support those that need it is a must in today’s fast pace working environment.

Expert collaboration is only going to improve quality and service delivery, so having all this knowledge in one place just makes access to advice simple.

Neil Hill, MD, Caer Health Services