Unhealthy and overweight? Blame your boss

Dubai: Adopting a healthy lifestyle is easier said than done – particularly if you work in a stressful job that’s got you doing more than the regular eight-hour routine.

If you want to get fit and healthy, is it your employer’s responsibility or yours?

In a recent survey carried out by Bayt.com, 96 per cent of professionals believe it is their employer’s responsibility to promote employee’s health and wellness.

Only three in 10 respondents said their companies provide fitness facilities or benefits to encourage a healthy lifestyle, while 60 per cent claimed the opposite. One out of every 10 respondents said they were unsure about the health benefits offered at their company.

“In terms of health, we can conclude that managers are perceived to set the tone for a healthy lifestyle inside and outside the workplace,” said Suhail Masri, vice president of employer solutions, Bayt.com.

“When the prevailing management philosophy is based on healthy lifestyle choices, leaders within an organization can direct employees by example and guide them in making decisions that promote increased wellness and happiness,” he said.

The study was carried out under the ‘Health and Lifestyle in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena)’ poll, where over 8,000 people participated from the Mena region, including the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The majority of professionals take time to exercise throughout the week, with 29.1 per cent of them engaging in more than 30 minutes of exercise three or four times a week.

Up to 18.5 per cent of respondents said they exercise once or twice in a week.According to employees, as many as 87 per cent said they were more likely exercise if their company offered a gym or gym subscriptions, and that of late, 65 per cent of respondents have been able to adopt healthier eating habits.

Out of the 26.8 per cent of employees that smoke, 63 per cent said they managed to smoke less during work hours.

However, more than a quarter of respondents, 30 per cent, said that their busy schedule was the biggest barrier preventing professionals from making healthy life choices, as they had no time to cook or exercise.

Other factors that prevented employees from making healthy lifestyle choices included lack of management support (15.8 per cent), lack of motivation to do so (15.3 per cent), and lack of exercise facilities in or near the workplace (10.6 per cent), while others (10.4 per cent) said they do not know where to purchase healthy food. A substantial number of respondents, at 17.8 per cent however, cited other reasons for their lifestyle choices.

Top 5 popular sports among employees

The most popular forms of exercises among professionals in the Middle East and North Africa region (Mena) are:

Running and walking: 29.7 per cent

Indoor sports: 17.8 per cent

Swimming:15.5 per cent

Lift weighing: 14.6 per cent

Yoga: 5.3 per cent

Courtesy: Bayt.com