Did you know that 90 percent of deaths in Australia are related to chronic disease? At least 77 percent of Australians have reported at least one long term health condition and at least 33 percent of them had more than one chronic disease.

Chronic disease is a term that is brought up on a regular basis, but what exactly does it encompass? A chronic disease is a health condition lasting more than three months, and can impact the individual in terms of decreasing quality of life, social and economic contributions. Chronic disease includes heart disease, diabetes, mental illness and cancer.

One third of our adult life is spent at work, it’s important that workplaces creates a supportive and safe environment by adopting health and wellbeing initiatives to ensure that employees are healthy. The cost of chronic disease in the workplace is increasing over time. The cost of absenteeism in the workplace costs close to $7 billion annually.  The cost of having employees at work but not fully functioning due to illness or other circumstances costs at least $26 million. The cost of an unhealthy employee is increasing, with unhealthy workers taking at least 9 more sick days per year compared to a healthy worker.

So how does chronic disease contribute to the workplace?

It not only effects the workplace as a whole, but for the individual and their work performance. Take obesity for example, those who are obese or sedentary are more likely to take sick days due to a compromised immune system, making them more susceptible to getting sick. Research suggests that exercise has an immune boosting effect and poor diet can also contribute to cold and flus.

Sleep apnea also has detrimental effects to the individuals suffering it- leading to poor concentration, poor decision making and fatigue. Poor concentration can lead to lower levels of work production and distractibility in the workplace as well. In manual handling jobs, poor decision making could lead to injury or death. Poor lifting technique can put excessive load on the joints as well as extra weight can add an extra couple of kilos of force on the joints.

In many cases, some people are living with uncontrolled blood pressure or cholesterol without knowing. That is why regular health checks at work is important, and something that Health by Design can do in the comfort of your own workplace. We also offer safety workshops, so there are lots of topics that we can help educate your workplace on!

Get in contact with us today to find out more about the programs we run to help improve the health and wellbeing of your employees.