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  • Writer's pictureKayleigh Richter

European Sustainable Development Week: 3 Good Health & Wellbeing

It's European Sustainable Development Week. Today's focus: 3 Good Health and Wellbeing. Within this modern world, it is increasingly becoming more and more difficult to determine our home and work lives. Technology means work is now everywhere and our employees are feeling the strain. So much so that almost 1 in 3 people working full time feel the demands of work are a key reason for not being able to follow NHS health guidelines* on the amount of exercise they do and eating a healthy, balanced diet. (Personnel Today, 2017)

Wellbeing is a positive physical, social and mental state. It is an important part of our health. Good wellbeing does not just mean the absence of mental illness – it brings a wide range of benefits, including reduced health risk behaviour (such as smoking and obesity), reduced mortality, improved educational outcomes and increased productivity at work. (Department of Health, 2010)

The costs alone for high risk behaviour related illnesses is huge. For example, the direct costs of obesity to the NHS rose from £480 million a year in 1998 to £4.2 billion a year in 2007. Estimates of the indirect costs (such as loss of earnings through sick days) range between £2.6 billion and £15.8 billion. (Butland et al, n.d.)

The encouragement of active travel and behaviour within the workplace can help to tackle some of these issues. Sustrans reported that ‘actively promoting healthier travel options in the workplace has been shown to reduce absenteeism by up to 20%’ and ‘physical activity has been suggested to benefit levels of ‘presenteeism’ (Activity impairment, low efficiency and poor performance at work, usually due to stress or problems associated with poor health) in the work place, and has been estimated to cost businesses up to 7.5 times as much as absenteeism. (Sustrans, 2017)

Check out our Campaigns and Challenges section for some inspiration

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