Good managers are meant to lead by example but when it comes to health many are falling short by smoking, leading sedentary lifestyles and being overweight, according to Bupa's corporate healthcare assessments.
The snapshot survey of health assessment data collected by Bupa Wellness over the last 12 months across a range of industry sectors reveals an unappetising set of diet and lifestyle statistics.
Despite the introduction of the smoking ban and media campaigns to encourage giving up, one in ten senior level employees assessed by BUPA admitted to smoking, while one in four admitted to leading a sedentary lifestyle by failing to take exercise at least once a week, thereby increasing their risk of a heart attack or stroke by the same amount as a smoker.
When it comes to weight, Bupa found that some 61 percent - well over half - of all senior level employees had a high Body Mass Index (BMI), scoring over 25 on the index, which means an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, diabetes and some cancers.
It is not a totally bleak health picture, however. Bupa's assessment data reveals that managers are on the whole resisting the temptation to turn to a drink after a stressful day with only four percent of those assessed drinking at a level that could damage their health. Less than 10 percent suffered high blood pressure and fewer than one in ten had high cholesterol – both of which can lead to coronary heart disease.
And undertaking a health assessment is a positive step in itself. Seventy-eight percent of BUPA customers said their health assessment prompted them to make positive changes to their lifestyle and for 38 percent identified health issues of which they were previously unaware.
Private medical insurance: News update: January 2008