A major charity initiative is urging workers in the South-East to ‘down tools’ at lunchtime and get walking to help protect their wellbeing.
A UK-wide survey commissioned by the National Charity Partnership, a collaboration between Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Tesco, found that heavy workloads, stress and workplace culture is stopping almost three in five office workers in the region (59 per cent) from regularly getting outside for a lunchtime stroll.
More people than ever before are being diagnosed with either Type 2 diabetes or heart and circulatory disease.
Being physically active is known to help reduce the likelihood of developing both conditions, but only five per cent of working adults in the South-East who were surveyed typically spend their lunchbreak doing something active like going to the gym or for a walk.
The National Charity Partnership is concerned that this behaviour, combined with generally low rates of exercise, could be having a detrimental long-term effect on the health of thousands of people across the region.
The partnership is encouraging office workers to use its online motivational tool to set simple, realistic goals to walk more.
Babs Evans, Head of Prevention for the National Charity Partnership, said: “When you’re under pressure at work it’s easy to forego a lunch break and instead grab a quick bite at your desk, but this isn’t healthy.
“Work-related stress puts a strain on your mental wellbeing and can have a knock-on effect on your physical health. People under too much pressure at work are more likely to eat unhealthily and stop being active: behaviours which are linked to a number of health conditions, including Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease. Both conditions are serious and affect millions of people in the UK, with millions more at risk. However, they are largely preventable and being active is an effective way to help reduce your risk.”
Despite more than nine in ten employees in the South-East (92 per cent) reporting that being outside makes them feel healthier or more positive, more than half (56 per cent) say they don’t typically leave their office for lunch.
Evans continued: “Even just a ten minute break away from your desk to go for a walk and clear your head can help to make a big difference with stress relief, which in turn is good for your health.”
Around 3.6 million people in the UK currently live with Type 2 diabetes and an estimated seven million have heart and circulatory disease. Both conditions are potentially life threatening if left untreated and those with Type 2 diabetes are also twice as likely to develop heart and circulatory disease.
The National Charity Partnership is running a campaign, Let’s Do This, to support adults to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease by taking small steps towards healthier lifestyles. Its online Goal Setter allows people to set and monitor their health-related targets and encourages them to stay motivated and achieve their goals.
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