Long-term health conditions are those that last six months or more. Chronic health conditions are those that are long-term, pose significant health problems, and have been a focus of ongoing public health surveillance.
In Australia, the 10 most common chronic health conditions are:
Nearly half of Australians have one or more of the above, and almost one in five have two or more chronic health conditions. Despite this, most of these conditions can be prevented as they were due to modifiable risk factors. These included:
This burden is borne not only by the individual though, but also by businesses and the community through reduced productivity and participation.
“A worker with a high Health and Wellbeing (HWB) score worked approximately 143 effective hours compared to 49 effective hours worked per month for a worker with a low HWB score.”
For businesses, they found that individuals with poor health behaviours have up to nine times as much sickness absence when compared with individuals with a good health and wellbeing score (HWB) and only contributed 49 effective hours per month, as opposed to 143 hours.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2010 report on Risk Factors and Participation in work found that almost all (96%) of working-age people reported at least one risk factor for chronic disease, whilst 75% reported multiple risk-factors.
Most Australians spend about one third of their lives at work so promoting positive health and wellbeing in the workplace makes sense.
Whilst all these numbers are alarming, it has been shown that organisations which implement health promotion strategies can have wide-ranging positive effects at an individual and organisation level.
Some of the benefits that have been found include:
The great thing about many health and wellbeing initiatives is that they can be low cost, require only small changes but can provide big health gains. For example, if we all did an extra 15 minutes of brisk walking, five days a week, Australia’s disease burden due to physical inactivity would be cut by about 14 per cent.
If you would like assistance monitoring the health and wellbeing of your workforce, we can help you to gain insight into your workforce and identify potential health-related risks.
You may also wish to download our posters which have health and wellbeing tips including hydration, sleep and stretching. Place these in a common area where your workers can see them.
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