Workplace culture in the UK could be adding to rising levels of type 2 diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on June 3, 2016

A sedentary lifestyle, including being unable to leave your workplace for a lunch break, could be contributing to rising levels of type 2 diabetes, it is suggested.

According to a survey commissioned by the National Charity Partnership, a collaboration between charities Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation and supermarket Tesco, many British workers under so much pressure they often can’t even escape their workplace for lunch.

Combined with generally low rates of physical activity, experts are concerned that such sedentary behaviour could be contributing to rising levels of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

office-cubicle

The National Charity Partnership is calling on office workers to reclaim their lunch break and it has launches what it calls an innovative online tool to help them get active and improve their health called Every 10 minutes counts.

The survey found that 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.

Some 32% of office workers say heavy workloads are to blame, followed by 14% believeing it is due to workplace culture while 13% say stress prevents them from not getting away from their desks for a walk at lunchtime.

Despite more than nine in 10 employees reporting that being outside makes them feel healthier or more positive, yet 52% of workers who were questioned never leave their office for lunch. Indeed, some 24% say they regularly work through their break.

The partnership is calling on workers to reclaim their lunch break and get walking to help protect their wellbeing.

“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,” said Babs Evans, head of prevention for the National Charity Partnership.

“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,” she explained.

“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,” she added.

Evans pointed out that even just a 10 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.

Being physically active is known to help reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease. However, only 5% of workers who were surveyed do something active during their lunch break, such as going to the gym or for a walk while 23% said that they simply cannot be bothered.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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