EU makes health a workplace issue

Jul 11 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

One of the things that I've always admired about Europeans is their recognition of the importance of preventive measures.

The European Union recognizes - quite rightly - that eating healthily is something that ought to be promoted not just at home, or at your yearly doctor's appointment, but also in the workplace.

The challenge is how to encourage both small-to-mid sized companies and multinationals to implement healthy eating and exercise as part of their corporate strategy and identity.

People may dislike the input of bureaucrats/government officials in to the operations of private companies, but unfortunately, it's simply not possible to make the discussion of healthy lifestyles a footnote in peoples' lives.

As we should all be well aware by now, healthier lifestyles mean less absenteeism, lower accident rates (heart attacks?) and even lower employee turnover. And the good news for management is that these benefits aren't just for the employees taking up seats Ė they also apply to them. In case that's not enough, the EU recognizes that this information is even more important in the schoolroom than it is in the workplace.

If management and workers representatives can work together on this issue, there's no reason that a helpful program can't be implemented without too much effort or cost. It'd be great to check back in a year and see how this initiative is implemented and if it can't spread to other countries with higher levels of obesity than most EU members.