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Health & Wellbeing

Health and Wellbeing at Work


Understanding Needs and Co-Developing a Workplace Intervention to Support Healthy Lifestyle Behaviours in Young Adults

12 Mar 2024
Health and Conditions
Young adulthood (age 16-24) is a time in life when many people put on weight. It's also a time when people's diet, exercise, and sleep tends to get worse. These changes in weight and behaviours can have both short- and long-term health consequences in terms of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes as well as deteriorating mental health. We know that people's diet, exercise and sleep is strongly influenced by the type of places that people work, for example by working hours, food available in the workplace, or colleagues. Although the move from full-time education into work is one of the major changes that happens to young adults, researchers have rarely examined which types of workplaces have the greatest impact on diet, exercise, sleep and ultimately weight, or how workplaces could provide a more supportive environment for young adults to prevent them gaining weight. Our research project (funded by a recent NIHR 'Work and Health' call) is led by the University of Cambridge with partners from the University of Sheffield, the University of Leeds and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES). It aims to identify: 1) The groups of young people and types of workplaces which are likely to benefit most from interventions to promote better diet, exercise and sleep patterns 2) What employers and decision makers in Government and other agencies could do to support better diet, exercise and sleep patterns and reduce the risks of obesity among young adults who making the important change from full time education into the workplace for the first time 3) The types of changes employers can make to workplaces that are likely to be the most feasible, offer the best value for money, and lead to sustained changes in diet, physical activity and sleep among young adults transitioning into the workforce
Hilary Winch, Chair, NHS Health at Work Network and Head of Workplace Health, Safety & Wellbeing, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Dr Sally Wilson, Head of Workplace Health and Wellbeing Research, Institute for Employment Studies
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