Queensland workplaces urged to stand up for employee health

Queensland workplaces are being encouraged to take a stronger stand on employee health, with figures showing 4 in 10 adults aren’t active enough.

According to Cancer Council Queensland, sedentary behaviour is emerging as an important risk factor for poor health and half of all workers have jobs that involve sitting at least some of the time.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms. Chris McMillan said incorporating healthy lifestyle environments into workplaces are an effective strategy to tackle sedentary behaviours and promote wellness.

According to the latest Chief Health Officer’s report, “The health of Queenslanders 2018,” 30 per cent of Queenslanders self-reported that they did not undertake sufficient physical activity in the week prior, while 9 per cent of Queenslanders said they were completely inactive.

The report also showed that two in three adults are overweight or obese.

Ms. McMillan said these figures reinforced the need for people to break up long periods of sitting.

“Employee health and wellbeing can be vastly improved if workplaces embrace simple initiatives on key risk factors, such as nutrition and physical activity, so we are calling on workplaces to make a commitment to implement a healthy workplace program in 2019,” Ms. McMillan said.

“Not only do healthy workplace initiatives help improve the wellbeing of employees, but they have been proven to significantly increase productivity, morale and worker retention – and decrease sick leave.

“We must work together to find ways of getting people moving more and sitting less – and a great place for this to start is in the workplace.

“Simple changes like adding healthy options into vending machines, encouraging standing meetings, allowing staff the opportunity to go for short walks throughout the day, or providing healthy catering options can make a big difference.”

Ms McMillan said in a supportive environment, with the right tools and resources, people are more likely to make healthier choices, thus reducing their risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer.

“Joining Cancer Council Queensland’s QUEST program provides organisations with free access to resources and advice about physical activity, plus other healthy lifestyle factors, including quitting smoking, being SunSmart, limiting alcohol, eating a healthy diet and participating in cancer screening,” Ms. McMillan said.

More information about joining QUEST is available at www.quest.org.au

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