Bringing Diabetes Awareness to the Workplace
November is National Diabetes Awareness month and prevention education is key. Give your employees an upper hand by using these education and awareness strategies.
The number of diabetes cases is at an historical high, with 30 million children and adults already affected and another 86 million diagnosed as pre-diabetic. The reason that these numbers are so worrying is because the majority of these new and existing cases are Type 2 diabetes, an entirely preventable form of the illness caused largely by excess sugar intake. In addition to the immediate problems caused by consistently high blood sugar, people with diabetes also have a significantly increased risk of developing serious health problems such as heart disease, blindness and kidney failure.
However the good news is that Type 2 is highly responsive to diet and lifestyle intervention, meaning that making a positive impact can be easier than it would seem. The most effective way that you can get involved as an employer is to help your employees understand the risk factors of diabetes and provide them with a work culture that helps encourage a healthier, more active lifestyle.
Here are some wellness oriented things you can implement this month and all year round:
- Encourage Physical Activity: Exercising moderately (like brisk walking) for 5 days each week can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58%.
- Have a gym near your office? Offer a reimbursement on gym membership for your employees and make sure they actually use it by setting a minimum number of times per week they must go to get reimbursed.
- Host an office wide group fitness class or activity, such as zumba, yoga or walking. Take it one step further by making a day of your planned activity and having employees wear their fitness gear to the office so they’re ready to work out at the end of the day.
- Provide Educational Workshops and Screenings: Wellness workshops are a direct way to provide employees with helpful tools for preventing or managing diabetes.
- Offering diabetes screenings and blood sugar testing can help employees further understand their individual risk.
- Promote Good Nutrition at Work: Obesity and poor diet are the primary risk factors for developing diabetes.
- Set a good example for your employees by offering healthier snacks in the office over standard sugar filled items.
- Organize an office wide healthy meal in honor of National Diabetes Month. Use some of the time to promote basic nutrition and cooking tips.