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Why is it important for an organization to promote health?



The WHO (World health organization) reports that NCDs are by far the leading cause of mortality in the world. Many of these diseases may be prevented by having a healthier lifestyle. In 2008 it was reported that 36 million deaths were due to NCDs which represent 63 % of total deaths worldwide, and were the cause of 50 % of premature deaths affecting people under the age of 70. By the end of 2030, WHO expects the number will have increased to 52 million deaths. (

Human capital is one of a business’s main resources to gain prosperity, but as more and moreworkers are threatened by non-communicable (NCD) diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic pulmonary diseases, diabetes and mental ill-health, it will interfere with the possibility for an organization to gain and sustain a sound workforce. 

So what is the role of the workplace in the struggles against NCDs or lifestyle diseases, and how can we benefit from it?

From our competitions in Norway and Sweden we found that:

On average a European worker puts in 37.3 working hours a week; that’s an averageof 7.46 hours spent at the workplace every day during a 5 day work week, giving the workplace an excellent opportunity to be an arena to influence a person’s habits and lifestyle in a positive manner. From our competitions in Norway and Sweden we found that ------>

From our own experience we see that many feel that they need the element of social support in order to stay more active over time. By organizing the workplace into teams of 5-8 people per team, we secure that the element of social support is fulfilled, and furthermore that the activity competition also will be a teambuilding event. Our activity competitions moreover have a low threshold and therefore we reach the most important group of employees, i.e. those who are not sufficiently active in their daily life.

For a business that is strategic in its work with health promoting initiatives, it’s becoming more obvious than ever before that it is economical to facilitate for a healthy lifestyle at the workplace. 

Harvard recently led a meta-analysis that identifies an average return (ROI) of $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs (Baicker, Cutler, Song 2010).