New Bupa research reveals how different professions stack up when it comes to heart age – with manual labour adding on average three and a half ‘heart years’ to a person’s real age.
Have you ever wondered whether your work environment could be having a harmful impact on your health? A study of more than 60,000 people around the world found that some professions were younger than others when it comes to ‘heart age’. It also found that employers can help play a key role in helping their staff look after their heart health.
Hearts at Work
is a campaign created by Bupa and the World Heart Federation, encouraging people to take a heart age check
. The check calculates your ‘heart age’ and compares it with your real age, based on your health details like blood pressure, lifestyle risk factors and your family’s medical history.
The most concerning result in this year’s survey, was that the heart age of smokers was found to be on average up to eight years older than their real age.
The data from the survey found that teachers and those working in the medical profession had the youngest heart age. Medical professionals had a heart age 1.7 years younger than their real age on average, while teachers were very close to their real age, almost 0.1 years older. They were followed by lawyers and those working in finance, whose heart age was on average 0.3 years older.
On the other hand, the heart age of manual workers and employees within the transport, logistics and construction sectors were on average 3 years older than their real age. This is possibly linked to lifestyle risk factors for heart disease like smoking - which were common within these industries.
People working in retail and sales had, on average, a heart age around 1.6 years older than their real age.
The research also showed that the heart age of people whose employers offered workplace health initiatives tended to be lower.
Respondents were asked whether their employer offered things like healthy eating choices, gyms, quit smoking services, and mental health services like counselling.
People who didn’t have any workplace health initiatives offered to them had a heart age 1.7 years older than their real age compared to those who did.
Dr. Fiona Adshead, Chief Wellbeing Officer at Bupa, says the data show that even small provisions made by employers can make a difference in helping employees become heart-healthier and more heart-aware.
“With half the world’s population in work, employers have a huge opportunity to help their employees live longer, healthier, happier lives,” she says.
Heart disease is the number one killer in the world, so the concept of ‘heart age’ was created to help people improve their perception of their heart attack or stroke risk, and help provide motivation to change their lifestyle.
It takes a few simple steps to improve heart health such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising for 30 minutes or more most days of the week, and not smoking.
Bupa employs around 84,000 people around the world, with the purpose of helping people, including their employees, live longer, happier, and healthier lives.