Lake Region receives health award

By Esther Hayden

Published 27/02/2016 | 00:00

Barry Dempsey, CEO, Irish Heart Foundation, Lorraine Gannon and Paul Pringle, Lake Region Medical and Tony O'Brien, HSE.
Barry Dempsey, CEO, Irish Heart Foundation, Lorraine Gannon and Paul Pringle, Lake Region Medical and Tony O'Brien, HSE.

A Co Wexford business Lake Region Medical, in New Ross, is leading the charge for heart health county-wide after winning a Gold Active@Work Award from the Irish Heart Foundation.

A growing number of companies are engaging with the Irish Heart Foundation's (IHF) health and wellbeing award programmes - which are boosting the heart health of some 50,000 employees nationwide - to help employees become more physically active and have healthier diets.

At the Foundation's presentation of awards to 92 companies, the national charity said workplace health is more than a 'tick the box' exercise and it can be used very effectively to increase productivity, reduce absenteeism and to boost overall morale and positivity.

Emerging research shows that sitting for prolonged periods is associated with increased risk for heart disease and stroke, even if individuals are regularly physically active. Further research has shown that a third of premature heart disease is due to psoor diets alone and the benefit of promoting healthy diets can help reduce employees' weight, cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

With many office workers sitting for 6 or 7 hours a day and 61 per cent of adults being overweight or obese, workplaces can play an important role in providing an environment that supports employees to move more throughout the day and eat more healthily.

Vice President of the Irish Heart Foundation, Prof Declan Sugrue, said: 'Serious health problems face us as a nation with heart disease and stroke at the top of the list claiming more lives than any other cause of death in this country. The good news is that 80 per cent of cardiovascular disease is largely preventable but tackling these diseases is more than a matter of individual responsibility.

'Creating a supportive environment to empower individuals where they work or live is essential. About two million people are employed in Ireland and the workplace is a key setting in which we can work together to make a difference.'

According to the national charity fighting heart disease and stroke, there are real bottom line benefits to workplace health promotion that provide wins for both the employer and the employee. For example, having an active work force can boost productivity by 4-15 per cent, absenteeism can reduce by up to 20 per cent and workplace injuries can reduce by up to 25 per cent.

Low levels of physical activity have a detrimental impact over time, increasing risk of heart disease and stroke, the leading cause of death and disability. But being more active can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 20% to 35% and it can prevent and lower blood pressure, reduce stress and help improve mood.

Any company interested in the Irish Heart Foundation's Workplace Awards can contact (01) 668 5001 or email Janis Morrissey, jmorrissey@irishheart.ie.

Wexford People

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