Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease that not only elevates risk levels for other health issues such as heart issues. It also causes a drain on the medical system. The International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) found that diabetes costs the planet USD 760 billion per year.
One of the risk factors for contracting type 2 diabetes is being physically active less than 3 times a week. For people who work in an office, a sedentary lifestyle is unfortunately the norm.
However, there is good news. Type 2 diabetes is preventable. For many people, it’s even reversible. Promoting a healthy lifestyle as well as diabetes education and prevention is a great way to show your employees that you care about them. It’s also helping your company’s healthcare costs and reducing the negative impact of diabetes on a global scale.
Here are 4 things you can do right now to create an environment that supports healthy lifestyles in your workplace.
More than a quarter of the world’s adult population doesn’t get enough physical activity. Among its many benefits, exercise is extremely helpful in regulating blood sugar. It can even mitigate the negative effects of a poor food choice on blood sugar. But in the workplace, exercise is often non-existent. By the time people get home from work, they’re diving straight into after work routines. Making dinner, taking care of the kids and getting ready for bed.
You can support your employees by encouraging them to take a break and walk around at least once every hour. Try one of these exercises that are perfect for the workplace. You can also institute a group exercise break once or twice a day in order to make sure everyone is included.
Provide Healthy Snacks
One of the many misconceptions surrounding diabetes is that diabetic people have to eat special foods. Or that they can’t eat carbs or starchy foods. In fact, a diabetic diet very much resembles the ideal diet we should all be consuming. It’s about balance.
Your employees, diabetic or not, can all benefit from healthy snacks throughout the day. The right snacks provide energy while balancing blood sugar and contributing to overall health. Good diabetic snacks are high in protein, fibre and healthy fats. Some ideas include almonds, yoghurt, berries, beef sticks, to name just a few.
People with diabetes require more water than others to flush glucose out of the bloodstream. But water also has preventative effects, helping reverse pre-diabetes and even stopping the onset of diabetes altogether.
Provide free drinking water for all employees. This can be bottled water. Or you could provide each employee with a reusable bottle they can refill at water stations throughout the office. This makes is less wasteful and also gets your employees moving around a little more.
Offer Diabetes Education
All of the above efforts will be much more effective if you add in an educational component. As last week was World Diabetes Day, it’s a good time to gather your employees for a quick crash course on diabetes and diabetes prevention.
Let them know that the company is doing its part in helping everyone stay healthy and fit. You want them to live longer, healthier lives.
Diabetes affects everyone. In fact, most people with pre-diabetes don’t even know they have it. Small steps like exercise breaks and free snacks are simple ways to help prevent and reverse this life-threatening and costly disease.
Could your company benefit from a holistic and sustainable well-being programme? Yes, but you don’t have the resources to organise and maintain it? Contact us. We work with small to mid-sized companies to fill in the gaps in your forward-looking programmes while staying within your organisation’s budget.