Four ways to help prevent your employees from developing type 2 diabetes

The number of people with diabetes in the UK continues to soar, with analysis from the British Heart Foundation finding the BBC recently reporting that the number of diabetics is projected to rise by one million by 2035, largely driven by more cases of type 2 diabetes and increasing rates of obesity.

Four ways to help prevent your employees from developing type 2 diabetes

The large majority of cases (90 per cent) are caused by type 2 diabetes, which causes the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood to become too high because of problems with a chemical in the body (hormone) called insulin.

As employers, we are in a unique position to be able to support and encourage our employees to make lifestyle changes which may help to reduce the risk of them developing type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is triggered by lifestyle choices and is particularly prevalent in those who are overweight and/or inactive. Unfortunately, the rise in office-based, less physical jobs and increasing improvements to technology has meant that remaining stationary during the working day has become the norm.

We have a duty of care to make sure our employees stay healthy and active, because if they aren’t feeling their best, they certainly won’t be able to produce their best work.

Below are four ways we, at Simplyhealth, have been supporting our employees to take a preventative approach towards their healthcare and lead healthier lifestyles – which in turn helps decrease their chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

1. Get employees moving!

At the start of 2017, we launched a partnership with the Simplyhealth Great Run Series, encouraging our employees and the public to introduce walking and running into their daily routine.

We have introduced walking and standing meetings to get more people on their feet, plus we have plenty of lunch and after work running and walking clubs taking place.

Last year, we even focused an entire working day on getting everyone in our workforce moving! The Simplyhealth Great Run Day included different activities across each of our offices, from smoothie bikes and table tennis to Parkour and a school-styled sports event, there was something for everyone.

2. Provide access to medical, nutritional and emotional support

We offer our employees access to the Simplyhealth Optimise health plan which provides a range of preventative health and wellbeing support that can help mitigate against the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

For example, Simplyhealth’s employees have access to myWellbeing, an online platform and employee assistance programme (EAP). Having the use of an EAP enables employees to view a whole host of in-depth advice, guides and online health checks for a variety of different issues, including diabetes.

Most EAPs give employees access to a 24/7 GP service, allowing employees to discuss medical queries, as well as the option to call the 24-hour support line which can provide counselling, advice or guidance for those wanting to make diet or lifestyle changes.

3. Encourage employees to have a good oral health routine

During a dental visit, a dentist looks at much more than the state of a person’s teeth, they also look for signs of other illnesses and diseases. Dentists are able to spot the signs of people who have pre-diabetic symptoms – meaning a person is at an extremely high risk of developing diabetes if they don’t make serious lifestyle changes – and those who have undiagnosed diabetes, meaning an employee can take early intervention against the condition.

A health plan or dental plan provides employees with money back on dental check-ups and treatments. Giving our workforce access to both a health plan and/or dental plan helps encourage employees to adopt a preventative approach towards a variety of health issues, including diabetes.

4. Pave the way for employees to make healthier food choices

In our offices, we have free fruit Wednesdays where a huge box of delicious fresh fruit is delivered to each break out room for employees to feast on. We advocate nutritionally beneficial food choices so have introduced healthier snacks in our vending machines to encourage employees to make better choices.

Our in-house marketing team regularly update the posters and digi-screens in our staff areas to remind employees of the benefits of eating well and we always feature nourishing recipes in our staff magazine, Connect.

Next steps

A health cash plan, such as Simplyhealth’s Optimise, will help you to provide fantastic all-encompassing support for your employees, encouraging a preventative and proactive approach to their everyday health and wellbeing. And employees who are a healthy weight, eat well and stay active have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

For more information on how a health plan works, the benefits to your entire workforce, and how to introduce a health plan, download the free REBA and Simplyhealth guide: How to implement a health cash plan.

This article was provided by Simplyhealth.

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