Nuffield Health and the London School of Economics (LSE) have commissioned a report which reveals that four out of ten people blame work commitments for not regularly participating in sport and exercise. The report also indicates that employers play an important role in encouraging employees to exercise and suggests that if every person in the UK followed the government’s recommended daily amount of exercise, then over £7bn of savings could be made. Instead the report shows that 70% of adults do not meet the target of 150 minutes of exercise per week.
The report suggests that active people are not only 7% less likely to be obese, but they also reduce their risk of mental health problems by 6%.
Speaking at the launch of the report, Grace Lordon, Lecturer at LSE, said “One of the reasons people are not active is because of time pressure, so there’s a role for employers to play.”
Commenting on the role of employers, Andrew Jones, Managing Director of Nuffield Health, predicts two major changes to how employers deal with workers’ health and wellbeing in the next five to ten years. He said “We will see a growth in GP and mental health services at work, which will be linked to the fitness agenda. There’s a real demand especially for mental health resilience services among employers.”
“Health benefits for active people are priceless, but with increased pressures both in the workplace and at home, as well as the struggling economy, we, as employers, have a responsibility to help our workforce to be as resilient, fit and well as possible.”
“Although helping business to develop sustainable practices is important, it is the productivity and success of our people that has the greatest impact. Poor mental health can be very isolating, support is crucial, but wellbeing programmes and prevention can do so much more.”
David Mobbs, CEO, Nuffield Health, added “It’s about employers making small changes to the work place environment, to make it more active. Doing more physical activity can mean that health can become the new wealth.”
This latest research mainly drew on data from the Health Survey for England, but also information from the Continuous Household Survey, Health Survey of Wales and the Department of Health.