Movement and diet is evidently becoming the heralded reasons for communicable and non-communicable disease. Research in South Africa shows that the in the past 9 years, government have spent R23 billion in preventative and treatment action for lifestyle diseases associated with obesity. South Africa is ranked as the highest obesity rate in sub-saharan Africa, and in the top 10 list of most obese populations globally. Approximately 7 million South African suffer from hyper tension, and 3.5 million suffer from Diabetes (all types). These diseases create increased risks of suffering from heart disease, cancers, and stroke. Half of diabetes and hypertension cases are linked to obesity, further linked to bad eating habits and lack of physical movement.
“Professor Karen Hofman of the Wits School of Public Health told City Press that if the situation was allowed to continue “the obesity epidemic will sink South Africa’s healthcare system” (1)”.
This is far from a local problem, as countries all over the world are combatting increased health costs, decreased productivity in the workplace, and sourcing healthy and natural foods to compete with cheaper and more readily available “junk-foods”. “In the United Kingdom, “Around four out of 10 middle-aged people already have a long-term condition for which there is currently no cure.
They are illnesses for which there is no cure, and they cost the NHS more than £11bn each year. That’s a phenomenal amount of money and more than that, it is taking years off people’s lives” (2)”. Furthermore, employees who are healthy are more effective, efficient, and positive for the workplace.
Power Plant Electrical Technologies have structured existing emphasis on physical activity. We have members of the company including senior management who exercise frequently – ranging from sports such as cycling, sport shooting, running, horse riding, hiking and general attendance at the gym. The company have attempted incentives and competitions such as weight loss challenges. All employees were afforded the opportunity to weigh themselves in, and after a set amount of time, weight themselves again to determine how much weight they had lost over that set time frame. The winner was the employee who had lost the most according to percentage of body mass of their original weigh-in value. Currently, initiatives such as the CANSA Relay for Life company team, PPE Cycling team as well as the employee community garden add to a “healthier” culture in the company.
In terms of diet, a new concept for long meetings is supplying fresh fruit as snack alternatives to high carbohydrate platters. The notion of a “standing meetings” has also been discussed. As a company, we strive to inform awareness to our employees around health risks that are developed by their own choices. Choices to eat healthier, exercise more frequently and slow down or quit bad habits are all up to the individual.
The PPE Team at the CANSA Relay for Life event in Mbombela 2018. The team managed to raise R5 500 for CANSA research, despite the event being closed early at 10pm due to excessive rain.
As Channel Partners of ABB, we have a great working relationship with them, and we enjoy some healthy competition! The company cycling team join ABB at events such as the annual 94.7, and do take part in a large number of races in the Lowveld as well as other national races such as the Cape Argus.
- PPE team mates having a well deserved ice cold Coke after the race
- PPE MD Piet van Zyl
- ABB Cycling team at the 2017 Telkom 94.7 Cycling Challenge
As a company, we envisage to one day be more like ABB in their approach to a healthy workplace. As the ABB RSA Country Manging Director, Leon Viljoen, describes a great initiative:
“The ABB Global Health Challenge is an innovative initiative to help improve our overall level of fitness, both in body and mind. Participants will receive a simple, flexible activity tracker that links with the web and an exclusive app for the challenge. In teams of seven, your activity is tracked as you work towards a daily target of 10,000 steps and compete alongside other ABB teams, and companies worldwide.
The ABB Global Health Challenge represents a great step towards fostering a culture of health and well-being, as well as teamwork and collaboration across our organization. The health and happiness of every single employee is our most valuable asset and we encourage you to take this opportunity to feel great, both at work and at home, while having fun with your colleagues.”
We at PPE would like to thank like minded companies such as ABB, ARB, Training Force and KSA Industrial Suppliers for supporting us in our fundraising efforts for cancer awareness as well as challenging us to live healthier lifestyles in our offices and homes.