Work environment can be bad for one’s healthDr. Veita Bland / May 11, 2018
To say that life is stressful for many people is an understatement. Much of our daily living revolves around work. Many people work primarily for financial viability and stability and more often than not, one’s work environment does very little to maintain or even help improve one’s health. In recent years, healthcare providers worldwide have observed that obesity rates are on the increase among the world’s workforce. With such a rise in obesity rates, researchers have also observed an increase in the risk of developing illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer and stroke.
Today, many companies and workplaces have taken a greater interest in the health status of their employees and offer health initiatives that promote exercise, a balanced diet and provide wellness exams in order to prevent adverse health conditions. Researchers are also studying the effects length of work time and job structure have on a worker’s overall health status.
For example, in one large research study, people who worked long working hours, shift work or held multiple jobs were found to have little time for family life. Their family dinners tended to consist of pre-made high calorie-dense fast foods versus meals prepared from scratch. Such high calorie food consumption often leads to increased obesity in families and a future filled with debilitating health problems.
Researchers simply asserted in their studies that shift workers and those working long hours have less time to devote to their health, less time to institute changes in their dietary choices and less time to implement any physical activity in their lives.
The availability of a variety of foods at work such as fruits, vegetables and other low-calorie items is also very important. Of course, healthy choices at the workplace are considered to have a positive impact but unfortunately such choices are not always available.
If a worker feels that he or she has little control at work and if the job triggered high stress, being in such a position could adversely affect food choices made by the worker, which also tend to be high calorie foods and lead to many health challenges.
For most people, working is an important part of life. Few were born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Overall, the research studies conclude that working long hours can be detrimental to one’s health. In addition, on the job stress can serve as an important negative factor on one’s health.
It’s time for the business community and the healthcare community to unify in order to create positive work spaces and environments that are amenable to promoting healthy lifestyles for all workers.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.