Wellbeing policies at work are a good place to start the prevention of rising mortality rates associated with obesity and diabetes, according to the OECD.

Their report released today, Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes: Policies for Better Health and Quality of Care, revealed that while fewer people are dying from heart attacks and stroke, rising levels of obesity and diabetes in younger people means more people will be at risk of cardiovascular disease (CDV) in coming years which could be prevented by better education and healthcare.

Francesca Colombo, Head, OECD Health Division, said:

“Working adults spend a large part of their time at the workplace, where they are exposed to a number of factors that may influence their lifestyles and health habits. Existing evidence suggests that health education, peer pressure, and changes in the work environment contribute to changing lifestyles and to preventing certain chronic diseases.”

Approximately 85 million people have diabetes in OECD countries, representing around seven percent of people aged 20-79 years old. This is projected to rise to 108 million by 2030, an increase of 27 percent.

Obesity is also found to be rising, affecting one in five people, and CDV is still the leading cause of death in OECD countries.

Colombo added:

“The workplace can promote healthy foods and beverages and reduce or eliminate the availability of calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods. It can also raise awareness on healthy lifestyles or organise information sessions with a nutritionists, distribute information materials and posters in common areas and cafeterias.

“These interventions at the worksite are able to improve population health and generally have larger impact on low SES groups, and they become cost-effective about 30 years from the implementation.”