COLLABORATION NEEDED IN WORKPLACE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PROMOTION

Physical inactivity deteriorates health and work ability. Moreover, recent research shows that prolonged sitting is an independent risk factor for health even if recommended amount of physical activity is pursued during leisure. Still, in most European countries, a large part of working aged population is physically inactive and spends most of the day in seated position. It is, thus, our common challenge to focus on both moving more and sitting less as prerequisites for a healthy workforce.

In HEPA Europe (European network for the promotion of health-enhancing physical activity) the aim of the working group “Workplace HEPA promotion” is to provide a platform for exchanging and disseminating practices and experiences of workplace HEPA promotion in the European Region. To get an overview about the practices related to workplace HEPA promotion, we conducted a ”TenQ” survey among HEPA Europe member countries last year.

Based on the survey results, it seems that HEPA promotion specifically in worksite setting has not yet been systematically integrated into national policies. Also, in most countries information for the employers about how to implement workplace HEPA promotion is scattered and probably not easy to find. Moreover, there is still plenty of work to do in practically all countries in developing a monitoring system, which helps to assess the needs of HEPA promotion at workplace level and to follow the impacts of the implementation at national, regional and local level.

To combat the challenges of physical inactivity and excessive sitting at both policy and practical level, co-operation of different parties working on workplace health promotion is needed. Therefore, we see that there is ground for collaboration and exchange between HEPA Europe and ENWHP in the field of workplace health promotion and, more specifically, in physical activity issue. Collaboration has now started with this blog and hopefully continues in terms of other activities in the near future.

Blog posted by the leaders of the working group “Workplace HEPA promotion” in HEPA Europe:

Matleena Livson, Finnish Olympic Committee; matleena.livson@olympiakomitea.fi

Minna Aittasalo, The UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Finland; minna.aittasalo@uta.fi

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