This recommendation follows the publication of a major new UK survey which shows that such program can have a significant impact on staff morale, communications and the general working atmosphere.
Findings from the Well@Work pilot programme, being led by the British Heart Foundation, also show increases in levels of physical activity and fruit and vegetable intake among employees.
The program, which has been funded by the Department of Health, Sport England and the Big Lottery Fund, tested workplace initiatives such as "pedometer challenges", health checks and "Fruity Fridays". Employees taking part in the pedometer challenges increased their weekly step counts by a third. People taking part in active travel schemes spent an extra 24 minutes on average walking or cycling to and from work.
Researchers from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Loughborough University, who produced the first evaluation of the programme, said that employers have a key role to play in improving the health of the nation.
Among the recommendations from the Well@work programme are: all employers should design their buildings in ways to encourage employees to be active; employers should ensure catering contracts stipulate healthy food is available; and primary care trusts should integrate health checks and health trainers into workplaces.
The programme also found that employees should request healthy workplace initiatives and "get involved" and employers should consider including sport in any healthy workplace initiatives for their staff.
More information about the Well@work programme can be found at www.bhf.org.uk/publications.
The entire article can be read at Health Insurance and Protection magazine website: http://www.hi-mag.com/healthinsurance/article.do?articleid=20000120504&adname=his_breaking_news