Health at a Glance: Europe 2016

The “Health at a Glance: Europe 2016” report was released on November 23rd 2016. It is the result of a close co-operation between the OECD and the European Commission. An entire chapter is dedicated to the labour market impacts of chronic diseases and related behavioural risk factors, including obesity.

Data show that obese people are less likely to be employed than normal-weight people, and that they are more frequently absent from work and earn less than non-obese people. Overall, non-communicable diseases (heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer, respiratory diseases) – to which obesity is a risk factor – result in the premature death of more than 550 000 people of working age, which represents a loss of 115 billion euros each year (0,8% of EU GDP).

The report emphasises that health and labour market policies can play an important role in reducing the labour market impacts of chronic diseases and related risk factors. The authors encourage the investment into prevention policies helping to make the workforce healthier and more productive, leading to substantial economic benefits. However, today, only around 3% of the countries’ health budget is dedicated to public health and prevention.

The FOOD programme contributes in raising awareness of employees on the importance of healthy eating via the dissemination of nutritional recommendations adapted to the working life and by developing a network of healthy restaurants to facilitate access to balanced meal options, thus contributing to a healthier workforce in 9 European countries.

Source: Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 report


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