It’s Men’s Health Week this week (11th-17th June), an event aimed to spread awareness of diseases affecting men across the globe. This year, Men’s Health Week is particularly focusing on diabetes and how employers can address the issue and provide support to their employees. Employers can’t stop their employees from developing diabetes, but they can make an effort to review their current working practices and ensure support is provided.
The common symptoms for diabetes vary from increased hunger and thirst, extreme fatigue, blurry vision and unexplained weight loss. Ignoring the warning signs for diabetes can lead to serious consequences. Research conducted by Boots has found that UK males are 20% less likely to visit the doctor than their female partners. You wouldn’t ignore a warning light on your car, so why ignore warning symptoms for life threatening health issues?
Currently, one in ten males have developed either Type 1 or 2 diabetes and this is set to increase for middle aged men over the next 20 years. Shockingly, 68% of men are overweight, according to NHS data. Also, men are 26% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than females. The main cause of Type 2 diabetes is attributed to being overweight.
Going to the pub after work with colleagues, unhealthy options at the office canteen and vending machines can all lead to weight gain. Employers can help employees live a healthier lifestyle by changing the workplace culture. Hosting social sport activity days, providing free fruit in the office and nutrition talks are just a few simple steps employers can take to help employees maintain a healthy lifestyle. Employers can also encourage workers to have a half an hour walking break. This will be particularly beneficial to those who sit working at a desk for the day.
Rewarding employees can motivate them to live a healthier lifestyle. Non-edible items such as gift cards and vouchers for healthy eateries, smoothie bars or non-food related items can also be used as incentives.
Weight-loss programmes are another example of tackling weight loss and reducing the chances of developing diabetes. Males may prefer a targeted weight loss programme that is tailored to improving their health. Employers can also provide regular medical checks/tests that can help support early diagnosis of diabetes and other health conditions.
Providing health benefits in the workplace can be a method used to retain staff and attract potential employees. It will also help to increase employee satisfaction as they care about their health. Employees may find it difficult to be active outside of work therefore encouraging a healthy lifestyle in work will be beneficial to them.
Even though this years ‘Men’s Health Week’ focuses specifically on diabetes, it’s important to be aware of the other health issues both males and females may face. Not only should employers encourage a healthier lifestyle physically, but also mentally.
Click here to read our article “Why is it important to promote positive mental health in the workplace?”
If you have any questions regarding this post, please contact a member of the HPC team:
T: 0844 800 5932