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NICE calls for workers to get physical

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The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published new guidance designed to encourage greater levels of physical activities amongst employees.

According to NICE, physical inactivity in England costs an estimated £8.2 billion each year – this includes the direct costs of treating diseases linked to lack of activity and the indirect costs caused through sickness absence. The costs can escalate to as much as £2.5 billion each year when the problems with obesity are taken into account.

Currently around 65% of men and 76% of women in England do not achieve the recommended level of activity for health (to accumulate at least 30 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity on five or more days of the week).

Amongst the recommendations for employers is developing a plan of activity for employees, encouraging employees to walk or cycle to and from work, and helping employees to get physical during the working day.

Professor Peter Littlejohns, clinical and public health director at NICE, said: “With working people spending an estimated 60% of their waking hours at work, many employers already recognise their responsibility for the health and wellbeing of their employees. As well as benefiting staff, a healthy workforce can result in financial benefits for employers, including increased productivity and less sickness absence as well as greater staff retention.”

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Annie Hayes

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