Saturday, May 25, 2024
HomeHealthWhy are we so ill? The working-age health crisis

Why are we so ill? The working-age health crisis

Social deprivation is a crucial risk factor, with rates of type 2 diabetes more than twice as high in the most deprived areas than they are in the least deprived. Income, education, housing and access to healthy food are all strongly linked to developing the disease, says the charity.

Tackling all of this is a huge challenge, particularly with public finances so tight. The Health Foundation’s report this week said it would require a cross-government approach to address the underlying causes of ill-health, as well as extra investment in the NHS, councils and voluntary sector.

“You need a healthy workforce if you want a healthy economy,” adds Mr Rocks.

Employers also needed to do more, the report said, including improving working conditions, supporting the wellbeing of their staff and making reasonable adjustments for those whose health limits what they can do.

The experience Lee Vaughan, 50, who works as a leisure centre manager in Sheffield, illustrates how those with health problems can be supported.

He has struggled with chronic pain for decades. In his early 20s he had to have a hip replacement because of arthritis.

His pain is made worse by emotional triggers when he is stressed, tired, frustrated or worried.

“Over the years I have learnt to live and manage the pain, but it can be really debilitating. I’ve had to take time off work. Fortunately my employer has been very understanding. They’ve made adjustments and I now work part-time.

“That’s really important – without that support I would have had to have left my job.”

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