A report, to address the different dimensions of the workplace as a key setting for interventions designed to prevent Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) through diet and physical activity, was commissioned jointly by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Economic Forum.
The report, summarizing the current evidence available on the issue, was presented to the World Health Assembly in Geneva today
According to this report, India could incur losses to the tune of $237 billion by 2015 due to a rise in lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart stroke and cancer because of unhealthy workplaces. The economic loss in India, which was $8.7 billion in 2005, is projected to rise to $54 billion in 2015. The projected loss for China , the other fast developing country , is a massive $558 billion, while the estimated figure for Russia and the UK is $33 billion. The estimated income loss in Brazil in 2015 would be $9.3 billion, while in Pakistan $6.7 billion, Nigeria $1.5 billion and Canada $1.5 billion.
Promoting the concept of a healthy workplace, the report has said targeting physical inactivity and unhealthy dietary habits are effective in improving health-related outcomes such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors.
The report goes in to say that addressing diet and physical activity in the workplace has the potential to improve the health status of employees, contribute to a positive and caring image of the company, improve staff morale; reduce staff turnover and absenteeism, enhance productivity and reduce sick leave, health plan costs and workers’ compensation and disability payments.