Celebrate corporate wellness

It's Corporate Wellness Week in South Africa. From 4 to 8 July South Africans are encouraged to celebrate wellness in their workplace.

With an estimated 56% of women and 29% of men being overweight and obese in South Africa, Corporate Wellness should be a top priority at all organisations.

There are 200 cardiovascular related deaths per day in South Africa, 1 in 3 men and 1 in 4 women in South Africa will develop a heart condition before the age of 60 and heart disease and stroke are the biggest non-infectious killers in our country.

Did you know that up to 80% of these incidences are due to our lifestyles and behaviour? Which means that 80% of premature deaths can be prevented merely through making a few small lifestyle changes.

Still wondering if corporate wellness is a good investment?

The Heart and Stroke Foundation SA (HSFSA) firmly believes so and encourages Corporate SA to support Corporate Wellness Week by committing to at least one of following for one week - it can make a big difference to the wellbeing of employees:

  • Ban smoking, even in designated smoking areas
  • Serve yummy and nutritious heart health lunches and snacks
  • Get your staff tested…i.e. blood pressure, glucose, Body Mass Index and cholesterol
  • Promote daily physical activity eg. display DO NOT USE notices on all elevator doors or near escalators encouraging staff to step up and use the stairs! OR start a walking club – 15 minutes of fresh air and leg stretching has proven to refresh and revive body and mind! OR place a treadmill in your canteen area – allowing exercise or stress junkies to get those endorphins going!

The benefits to all are reduced absenteeism, improved productivity and lower medical costs, whereas individual benefits are a dramatic risk reduction in heart disease and strokes, hence a longer life that is free of pain and suffering. 

Quick health tips for employees:

  • Step up! Opt for the stairs at all times – it’sa great way to get in shape, improve cardiovascular function and strengthen and tone your legs muscles.
  • Breathe! Take a “walking” or “water” break at least every hour especially if you have a sedentary position, this will help to refocus and energise you. 
  • Face it not Facebook! Speak to your colleagues directly. In this electronic age you can easily forget how to communicate face to face, however, direct communication is often more beneficial.
  • Laugh! Don’t allow work to become mundane, take time to share a joke with a colleague or laugh at an email. Laughter is a great stress reliever.
  • Snack healthily! Choose to snack on energy boosting foods like fruit, nuts and yoghurt instead of energy sapping sweets and chocolates.
  • Stay hydrated! Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day – the health benefits are endless.

Healthy companies

A recent Discovery survey named BSG (Africa); Vital Health Foods and Cadiz Holdings the healthiest companies in the country. It came as no surprise that these organisations were also mentioned in the “least stressed”; “most physically active”; “most smoke free” and “healthiest workforce” categories.

Step onto the “Corporate Wellness treadmill” by establishing Corporate Wellness Programmes at your own workplace. Visit to learn more about the HSFSA’s solution to Corporate Wellness - the Healthy Hearts @ Work Canteen Programme. This dynamic programme offers companies the opportunity to reduce the incidence of heart disease and stroke amongst their employees through a specialised Corporate Wellness Programme which provides the following to staff:

  • A canteen/tuckshop/vending machine menu with healthier food choices
  • Individual blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose screenings (testing is lifesaving!)
  • A health risk report of screenings sent to office management
  • Free nutritional advice from a HSFSA’s Registered Dietician
  • Free education about the risk factors for cardiovascular disease

For more information on the HSFSA’s Corporate Wellness programme or free expert nutritional advice, visit or contact the Nutrition @ Heart line on 0860 223 222.

- (Health24, July 2011)

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