March 31, 2017 - Mike Dilke
I went to the Active Working Event in London on Thursday. It was a great event in a wonderful location with a view over St Pauls Cathedral. So much happened during the day - I made some notes but couldn't capture it all so I mention a few of my personal highlights below.
Dame Carol Black gave the opening address and she is the absolute right person to kick something like this off as she is the expert advisor on health and work to NHS England and Public Health England.
She scared me. She is lovely but it is what she said that scared me - 31% of NHS staff are overweight and 21% are obese. Many of the presenters said essentially that change in any organisation needs to happen at the top. Well if the organisation is UK plc and the NHS looks after the organisation's health we can't have a do as I say not as I do approach. I realise it is more complicated than that and there are all kinds of difficulties in the NHS but the organisation that looks after our health must look after its staff I would have thought.
There were around 18 speakers in total and the approximately 100 seats were occupied for most of them. Admittedly there were usually 20 to 30 people standing at the back of the room and the moderator skillfully suggested people stand for some of the time. However it was the Active Working Event and I wanted to see more activity!
Professor James Levine gave the closing address. He got every seat, bar one, empty - people were standing and listening - they hadn't just left! To do this he promised to donate £1 to charity for every person standing.
Professor Levine really got me thinking when he asked if we were going to subject our children to the same unhealthy, static workplaces given that we now know how bad this is. He told us that when active programs are introduced in schools the children love it and engage and grades go up by an average of 15%. This should be making us think about where our children go to school. Maybe I am a bit smug at this point but my children go to a Steiner school where movement is part of every day and not just for those who are good at the traditional sports.
It was an excellent event and my thanks go to the organisers. It did show to me how much more is needed to be done to get people more active in the workplace inspite of all the great stuff that is going on.