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World Heart Day: Nestlé pioneers health and wellness programs across Central and West Africa

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ACCRA, Ghana, September 30, 2019/ — With high blood pressure as one of the leading risks for deaths worldwide, and hypertension prevalence rates in some sub-Saharan African countries among the highest in the world, do you know how to keep your heart healthy?

A number of health factors, including lifestyle, age and family history can all contribute to the risk of heart disease and impact on people’s health and well-being.

While age and family history cannot be controlled, research suggests making a few simple changes to your daily routine at home, and at work, can make a difference.

At Nestlé, supporting and promoting our employees’ well-being is part of our commitment to inspire people to lead healthier lives, and we believe more workplaces should be creating an environment to boost the nutrition, health and wellness of their employees.

“As the world’s largest nutrition, health and wellness company, we believe it’s time to invest in happier and healthier employees through health and wellness programmes,” said Rémy Ejel, Market Head for Nestlé Central and West Africa (CWA) Ltd.

“Creating health and wellness activities for employees highlight our purpose to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future to support a more engaged and productive workforce – and also help to cut down on absenteeism, increase productivity and turnover, and as a result, enhance customer quality and satisfaction,” he added.

Investing in healthy workplaces

Action is already underway to tackle heart and other health issues, and so far, 75% of employers worldwide offer wellness resources, information and/or a general wellness programme, as highlighted by the 2018 Employee Benefits Report from the Society for Human Resources Management – marking a change in promoting employee health and wellness.

Globally, Google has invested in a People & Innovation Lab (PiLab) to conduct research and think of unique ways to keep its employees healthy. In addition, its Googlers-to-Googlers programme encourages employees to teach other employees fitness practices to keep them healthy. Newmont Goldcorp has created the Military Veterans Programs and Support group in the United States to help employees connect and foster a sense of belonging.

In Burkina Faso, Caisse Nationale de Sécurité Sociale organises team sports and fitness sessions for its employees, twice a week. Telecel also leads football matches with other companies in the country, twice a week in a public square.

These are just a few examples to show how companies in the region and worldwide can all actively contribute to improving employee wellness and invest in healthy workplaces.

Know Your Numbers

Employees at Nestlé also have the opportunity to learn more about their health, and in turn, improve their lifestyle choices through our global initiative, ‘Know Your Numbers Programme’ (KYNP).

Launched in 2017 in CWA, and again in 2019 as a reminder to all employees, it aims to help employees assess their current health status and set personal health goals, while also helping us better understand our employees and create health programmes.

After completing a short, online anonymous Health Risk Assessment (HRA), covering topics such as family health history, tobacco consumption, nutrition and stress, they are provided with an insight on their current health status and areas that need more attention.

Employees can also use their previous biometric results – measuring a person’s physical and behavioural characteristics through blood pressure, weight, height and waist circumference – carried out in the past six months by a health care professional, to support their personalised HRA report.

Assessments can be taken more than once to keep up with changes in their lifestyle and to help track their health and fitness progress.

To support employees further, the KYNP scheme provides them with access to personalised health programmes, guided health investigations and other health initiatives led by Nestlé and other company partners.

In addition, annual employee medical reviews are carried out at our sites across the region each year.

Inspiring employees to lead healthier lives

More health and wellness activities are also currently up and running at Nestlé CWA.

“Employees are encouraged to take part in daily ‘wellness breaks’ at our offices across the region, urging them to move from their desks and combat sedentary behaviour,” explained Gregoire Scilipoti, Regional Head of Human Resources at Nestlé CWA.

He added they are also getting involved in exercise sessions in the office led by fitness experts, including ‘Workout Thursdays’ in Ghana which was launched earlier this year, Zumba classes in Côte d’Ivoire, and training sessions with a fitness coach in Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Nigeria.

They can get active by using the fitness facilities at our Cameroon and Burkina Faso offices managed by a Wellness Committee. As an alternative, all our workers are offered discounted rates at local fitness centres nearby.

“Taking part in fitness sessions is helping me to get fit and healthy, invest in my own personal development and makes me feel part of the company,” said Gbede Koffi Tohonou, junior financial accountant in Burkina Faso for the Nestlé Savanna Cluster.

On specific international days – such as World Heart Day on September 29 – employees are also offered nutrition advice and recommendations by experts at organised in-house events, and via internal communication messaging.

Instilling healthy living habits

In Ghana, Nestlé employees are able to enjoy ‘Fruity Tuesdays’, where a variety of fruits are offered to instil healthy eating habits and nutritious snacking.

The Nestlé Nutrition Line, a daily public service radio on nutrition, health and wellness which has been running for nearly 20 years, is still being broadcast in the Ghana office to provide employees with healthy living tips and advice.

“Instilling a healthy living culture among employees and encouraging them to be ambassadors is very important,” said Philomena Tan, Managing Director for Nestlé Ghana.

“This all has value, as by improving the wellbeing of employees through such activities and wellness programmes, these can help to boost efficiency and productivity, benefit their families, our consumers and stakeholders to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future,” she added.

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