Employee Assistance Program Plan Proposal - Healthier Habits 1. Cause and extent of the targeted health issue
Overweight and Obesity is an issue of serious concern for Australia's economy and workforce. In 2008, the Department of Human Services reported that rates of overweight and/or obesity were predicted to reach 83% of males and 75% of females aged 20 and over by 2025. Here in Queensland, a shocking 65% of adults are already overweight or obese. It is an issue that results in an increasingly huge burden on our economy through health system expenses and business losses. Studies have shown the obesity epidemic is a strong risk factor for a range of other health problems, including depression and serious chronic diseases like diabetes, some cancers, and cardiovascular disease. Obesity is associated with more frequent absences from work, increased risk of injury, and longer recovery times.The two main contributing factors to this issue, poor nutrition and sedentary lifestyles, are becoming more and more commonplace, especially in office work-environments like ours. Australia's workers are increasingly time-poor, less likely to get adequate exercise, and more likely to rely on convenience foods of poor nutritional value. Australian governments and health bodies have aligned in recent years to produce a range of campaigns and programs designed to assist organisations in promoting healthier lifestyle choices and ultimately curbing the cost of obesity. The National Partnership Agreement on Preventative Health (NHAPH) was established in 2009 to address the rising prevalence of lifestyle-related chronic disease by promoting healthier lifestyles for all Australians. Key NHAPH initiatives included the Healthy Workers campaign, as well as $59 million to support the first phase of the Australian Better Health Initiative's Measure Up campaign, which encouraged people to reduce their risk of chronic lifestyle-related disease by reducing their waistline measurements. Phase two of Measure Up is the Swap It, Dont Stop It campaign, which promotes simple, everyday changes people can make to improve their health without giving up things they love. More recently NHAPH launched the Shape Up Australia campaign, which reinforces the health risks of intra-abdominal fat and encourages people to increase their daily physical activity and improve their eating habits. The latest initiative from the Queensland Government Happier, Healthier offers an online Health & Fitness Age Calculator to help identify detrimental lifestyle habits.The Healthy Workers, Measure Up, Swap It, Shape Up and Healthier, Happier initiatives are all aimed at encouraging healthier lifestyles for Australians and provide a range of useful messages and resources we can use as a basis to promote healthier lifestyle choices for our employees and improve our organisation's outcomes for staff and management alike. 2. Scope of employee assistance program needed
Obesity is a complex issue which requires a holistic approach, it will be important to address from every angle by promoting regular physical activity, better nutrition, as well as mental and emotional wellbeing. A comprehensive approach is proven to be the most effective in promoting healthy employee lifestyles, however, due to our organisation's medium size (97 employees) we will need to be prudent in our use of human and monetary resources. We will endeavour to provide the most comprehensive approach possible on a judicious budget, utilising key resources from relevant Government and health body initiatives. Key resources include promotional materials, fact-sheets, recipies, 12 week meal and activity planners, tape measures, fitness activities, an online health age calculator, local community activity directory, etc. The program will be entitiled Healthier Habits and will include awareness-raising, educational, and practical approaches, as well as providing environmental support. The program's launch week will be marked...
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