North East is home to Britain’s least healthy employees

The research analysed lifestyle, behavioural and clinical risk factors to assess employee health and understand what companies should focus on to improve workforce wellbeing.

The factors analysed include weight, diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol intake, mental health, cholesterol, blood glucose levels and blood pressure, as well as how often people attend health screenings.

The findings show that the North East has the highest proportion of employees, with 31 per cent, at risk of developing health problems across a number of categories. Within this region, 28 per cent of employees have an unhealthy body composition (BMI).

Nearly half surveyed are not doing enough physical activity, 6 per cent show symptoms of depression, 26 per cent consume too much alcohol, and nearly 30 per cent have elevated blood pressure. The North East also has the highest proportion of employees with four or more risk factors that may affect their health.

Conversely, London is home to the healthiest employees with less than a quarter of the capital’s workers at risk of a health issue. London employees top the tables in terms of nutrition, physical activity and BMI.

Overall, 87 per cent of British workers have a health age that is older than their chronological age, with an average difference of three years and 10 months older than their real age due to unhealthy lifestyles.

In comparison, workers in London have a health age of three years older than their actual age, while those in the North East are five years and one month older. These figures are mainly attributable to lifestyle choices.

Greg Levine, Director of Corporate Healthcare at VitalityHealth, said: “Health and wellbeing is playing an increasingly important role in how businesses maximise the productivity and happiness of their workforces. Clearly there are some areas across the UK where companies need to do more but if businesses are able to develop a culture in which wellness programmes are integrated into day-to-day life, the benefits for both employees and the company itself will be quickly realised as productivity is improved and the cost of absenteeism is reduced.”

Welsh employees are the most likely in the UK to be current or past smokers and are also the least likely to have had a health screen in the last twelve months. Northern Ireland has the largest proportion of employees at risk of health problems due to poor nutrition.


Image: Blood pressure / Shutterstock