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Economy Needs Healthy People 2006-03-29

Posted by clype in Health, Money.

If workers exercised more, levels of sick leave could be cut dramatically, saving the UK economy 487 million GBP/year, a report has said. According to consultants 'Deloitte', only 48 per cent of the population exercise enough to meet the government's recommended target of 150 minutes per week. But if 70 per cent took that amount of exercise, it would cut sick leave by 2 783 808 days/year, 'Deloitte' said. This would improve firms' productivity and ease the burden on the NHS. More leisure facilities:

'The benefits of a fitter population would be felt throughout the economy,' said 'Deloitte' partner Mr.Adrian Balcombe.

'A population more motivated to exercise could boost revenues for health club and leisure centre operators, employers would see increased productivity through reduced absenteeism and people would enjoy a healthier lifestyle with reduced risk of illness.'

The survey of 10 000 people found that those who exercised less than the recommended 150 minutes per week took an average 3.5 sick days/year, compared to three days for those who exercised for over 150 minutes each week. The Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, has said adults should exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. The government has set a target of building enough facilities to ensure that by 2020, no one will be more than a 20-minute journey away from their nearest leisure centre or swimming pool.

Tired bosses:

A separate survey by 'The Chartered Management Institute' (CMI) found that 60 per cent of managers reported that sickness rates in their companies had increased over the last year. However, 50 per cent of bosses themselves said they were in 'good' health, with only 8 per cent of those questioned saying they were in poor health. But despite this, 55 per cent of them admitted to experiencing muscular tension, aches and pains, with the same percentage reporting sleep loss or insomnia, while 57 per cent complained that they were constantly tired.

The average manager reported having 3.19 days of absence from work in the past year due to ill-health or injury. Stress, respiratory problems and back pain were the main causes of absence among managers, the CMI said. Bosses said they believed health issues were becoming more important in the workplace, given that about 35 million days are lost each year to illness and injury.

'Improving workplace health and well-being therefore not only makes common sense, it can also really make a difference,' said Mr.David Williams, claims director at insurer 'Axa'.


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