Concerns over long-term physical health of under-pressure workers

31 May 2016        

Man and woman having an office meeting

Pressure at work is stopping almost three in five employees from regularly leaving the office for a lunchtime stroll and could be having a detrimental long-term effect on the health of millions of workers across the UK.

A survey commissioned by the National Charity Partnership, a collaboration between Diabetes UK, us and Tesco, found that office workers mainly blame heavy workloads (32 per cent), workplace culture (14 per cent) and stress (13 per cent) for not getting away from their desks for a walk at lunchtime. 

Despite more than nine in ten employees reporting that being outside makes them feel healthier or more positive, more than half of workers who were questioned (52 per cent) never leave their office for lunch. Almost one in four (24 per cent) say they regularly work through their break

Time for change 

The partnership is now calling on workers to reclaim their lunch break and get walking to help protect their wellbeing. It is encouraging people to use its online motivational tool to help people set simple, realistic goals to move more. 

Babs Evans, Head of Prevention for the National Charity Partnership, said: “When you’re under pressure at work it’s easy to forego a lunch break and instead grab a quick bite at your desk, but this isn't healthy.

"Work-related stress puts a strain on your mental wellbeing and can have a knock-on effect on your physical health. People under too much pressure at work are more likely to eat unhealthily and stop being active: behaviours which are linked to a number of health conditions, including Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease. Both conditions are serious and affect millions of people in the UK, with millions more at risk. However, they are largely preventable and being active is an effective way to help reduce your risk.

"Even just a ten minute break away from your desk to go for a walk and clear your head can help to make a big difference with stress relief, which in turn is good for your health."

Let's do this

The National Charity Partnership is running a campaign, Let's Do This, to support adults to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease by taking small steps towards healthier lifestyles. Its online Goal Setter allows people to set and monitor their health-related targets and encourages them to stay motivated and achieve their goals.