cartoon heart using a laptop

Disease Awareness

Healthy Hearts at Work

September 29th, 2016 - 0 Comments

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide, accounting for approximately 17.5 million premature deaths every year. According to the World Heart Federation (WHF), the mortality associated with CVDs are expected to further rise to 23 million by 2030. The WHF is playing an active role to reduce the global menace of CVDs by 2025. As part of this, the WHF is formulating policy shaping initiatives to improve overall cardiac wellness and reduce premature deaths due to CVDs by 25% within 2025 by collaborating with key decision-makers from across the globe.

The World Heart Day commemorated on 29th September every year is a major international platform to raise awareness about CVDs. It is a collaborative platform for global stakeholders to interact and work with the WHF at every level. The WHF’s theme for World Heart Day 2016 is ‘Power your life’, which intends to educate everyone on how to fuel their hearts and power their lives.

CVDs are preventable, as majority of the risk factors associated with CVDs such as unhealthy regimes and inadequate physical activity are easily modifiable. Thus, understanding the risks and making healthy choices can easily prevent CVDs. Also, identifying a particular part of life that is adversely affecting other areas is important purely because a few steady and simple changes to one’s daily routine and emotional well-being can prove beneficial for the heart in a long run. These changes should not be just limited to an individual’s personal life, but also extended to one’s professional life. The average person spends approximately 90,000 hours at work during his/her lifetime if they are hypothetically believed to work for a minimum of 40 hours a week during their lifetime. On a daily basis, an individual spends 30% of one’s day or approximately 50% of hours awake at work. A sedentary lifestyle, an inconsistent diet and work-related stress; common phenomena among the working class increase CVD risk. Hence, it is important to be conscious of health even at work. Healthy workers improve productivity and vitally contribute to the success of organizations. As part of its many initiatives, the World Health Organization (WHO) devised ‘Healthy workplaces: a WHO global model for action’ to reduce the deaths related to avoidable non-communicable diseases as well as the burden of mental ill health, with the ultimate aim to protect and promote health at the workplace. A healthy work space makes it easier to make healthy choices and lead healthy lives. However, it is the responsibility of both the employer and the employees to create and sustain such healthy and heart-friendly ambiances.

healthy-heart-at-work-place

Listed below are few changes each employer should adopt to promote health at work and also cultivate an environment that motivates every employee. Just a few simple steps such as eating more healthily, cutting down on alcohol and stopping smoking can improve the health of the heart and overall well-being.

Diet:
Making the right food and drink choices gives the heart the right fuel it needs. Avoiding processed and prepackaged food high in sugar and fat and cutting down on aerated beverages is essential. It is wise to swap sweet treats for fresh fruits. Consuming food at regular intervals also plays a vital role. Set lunch times and well-spaced tea breaks create a systematic pattern among employees. Eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and homemade lunches for the workplace also benefit the heart. It is best to consume alcohol responsibly within recommended guidelines. Maintaining a healthy diet can also prevent other non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and obesity, often associated with CVD.

Activity:
Staying active can help reduce the risk of CVD. An exercise routine and/or active participation in sports will keep you active and reduce the risk of CVD. If you are in a sedentary job, taking the stairs and walking or cycling to work are some of the healthy options. Companies are now engaging fitness professionals to train their employees with mobility and ergonomic exercises. Timed mobility breaks are also a popular option as activities check cholesterol and blood pressure levels, risk factors for CVD.

Smoking:
Smoking is the reason behind many diseases such as CVD, cancer and more. Quitting smoking is best for a healthy heart. Passive smoking also causes heart disease in non-smokers. Employees encouraging each other to quit smoking also results in a healthy working community. Promoting a smoke-free workplace fosters employee health and well-being, enhancing organizational performance and productivity.

Stress-reduction:
It is estimated that more than 13 million working days are lost every year because of stress-related illnesses. Work-related stress can be tackled by identifying problems at the grass root level and finding workable ways to rectify them. Team work and effective time management also reduce stress as the tasks are distributed equally among peers. Workplace management standards, policies and guidelines for work-related stress promote a healthy work environment. Social events are a means to unwind for employees. Managing and preventing chronic stress is ideal not only for the heart but also for overall health.

In summary, simple and regular strides can make the heart healthy. Changes in daily routines like eating and drinking more healthily, exercising regularly and quitting smoking can eventually improve cardiac health. Nurturing a heart friendly environment at every available opportunity helps build healthier communities.

Power your heart – power your life!

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