Hearts ageing faster than their owners, reveals Bupa

29 September 2015
  • Heart disease is the no.1 cause of death globally [1]
  • Line of work can impact heart health with teachers and medical professionals’ hearts in the best condition 
  • Workplace health initiatives can help to improve heart health
  • Bupa partners with the World Heart Federation for Hearts at Work campaign, to mobilise workplaces to be heart healthy


bowl of tropical fruit
On World Heart Day, high level research by Bupa, the global health and care company, has revealed that the average working person’s ‘heart age’ is 3.3 years above their actual age and that there is a relationship between jobs and heart health. 

Research also showed that the heart age of people who work in an environment where workplace health initiatives are in place tends to be lower.

Different occupations and heart health

 

Manual workers and employees within the transport and logistics and construction sectors were found to have the worst heart health, with lifestyle risk factors for heart disease such as smoking being extremely high within these industries. 

Teachers and those working in medicine had the best heart health, with a heart age which was on average 2.8 and 2 years older than their physical age. 

For Hearts at Work, a campaign created by Bupa and the World Heart Federation, over 8,000 consumers globally took a heart age check. The check, which launches today, calculates the user’s heart age based on personal health details such as blood pressure, family medical history, and lifestyle risk factors such as smoking. 

Among the respondents, occupation was found to affect the average difference between their physical age and their heart age.

Jobs with the best heart health


Job 
Average difference between physical age and heart age 
 
 Medicine 
 +2 years 
 
 Teaching 
 +2.8 years 
 
 Accountancy, banking & finance
 +3 years 
 
 IT & Information Services
 +3.5 years
 
 Retail & Sales
+3.8 years 
 

Jobs with the worst heart health 


Job 
Average difference between physical age and heart age 
 Manual labour
 +8.7 years 
 Transport & logistics
 +7.2 years 
 Property & Construction            
 +7 years 
 Charity work
 +7 years 
 Energy and utilities
 +6.3 years 

Workplace health and heart health

 
The research found that in industries where employers pioneered employee health and wellbeing initiatives, heart health was improved. 

Respondents were asked whether their employer offered healthy eating choices, digital health tools, gyms, stop smoking services, and mental health services such as counselling. 

For each additional workplace health initiative offered, the research found that heart health was improved. The most meaningful improvement to heart age was through the provision of healthy eating options, where respondents saw an average decrease in their heart age of 1 year. Furthermore, employees that were offered multiple workplace health initiatives by their employers had heart ages 1.8 years lower (on average) than those who were offered none. 

Dr. Fiona Adshead, Chief Wellbeing and Public Health Officer at Bupa said: “If current trends continue, by 2030 more than 23 million people will die annually from cardiovascular disease , yet this research shows that there is huge potential for employers to help improve their employees’ health – not only reaping the benefits of a healthy workforce, but also tackling the heart disease epidemic facing the world.

“When making small changes like providing healthy lunch options can take up to a year off heart age, employers have a great opportunity to support their employees having longer, healthier, happier lives and improve the health of millions of people.”  

Johanna Ralston, CEO of the World Heart Federation commented:
"The age on your birth certificate may say one thing, but your heart age could be saying something quite different. This World Heart Day, we urge employers to put a focus on creating heart-healthy environments to help their employees bring down their 'heart age'.
 
"The places where we live, work and play should not increase our risk of cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke. Yet individuals often find they simply cannot make the right choices for their heart health because of environmental factors, such as lack of access to healthy foods or smoke-free zones. We believe in healthy heart choices for everyone, everywhere."

The concept of ‘heart age’ was created to help people to improve their perception of their heart attack or stroke risk, and provide motivation to change their lifestyle, as heart disease is the number one cause of death globally. 

The Hearts at Work API was created by Habit Partners. To test your heart age and get tips for heart health, visit: www.bupaheartage.com

Notes to editor

For further information please contact:

Bupa Press Office, bupapressoffice@bupa.com / 0207 656 2454

Notes to editors

The heart age check was completed by 8,013 international respondents in August and September 2015.  The respondents were not weighted internationally, but taken from a broadly representative sample.

The research was not designed to be statistically significant or represent a clinical trial. It was designed to identify correlations between heart health and workplaces.

Other studies that examine the link between heart health and workplaces:

Long working hours, socioeconomic status, and the risk of incident type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of published and unpublished data from 222 120 individuals

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587%2814%2970178-0/abstract

The heart age check is not a medical diagnostic and is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. The test is not suitable for those with existing heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes.

A more accurate heart age can be estimated if a user enters key risk factors, such as their blood pressure or cholesterol. If these are unavailable an estimate will be used based on the users age and gender and whether they have been diagnosed by a healthcare professional.

Employers can contact groundmiles@bupa.com for a free ‘campaign in a box’ to run a successful ‘Hearts at Work campaign.

For further information please contact:

 

 

Bupa Press Office, bupapressoffice@bupa.com / 0207 656 2454

 

 

Notes to editors

 

 

The heart age check was completed by 8,013 international respondents in August and September 2015.  The respondents were not weighted internationally, but taken from a broadly representative sample.

 

 

The research was not designed to be statistically significant or represent a clinical trial. It was designed to identify correlations between heart health and workplaces.

 

 

Long working hours, socioeconomic status, and the risk of incident type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of published and unpublished data from 222 120 individuals

 

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587%2814%2970178-0/abstract

 

 

The heart age check is not a medical diagnostic and is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. The test is not suitable for those with existing heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes.

 

 

A more accurate heart age can be estimated if a user enters key risk factors, such as their blood pressure or cholesterol. If these are unavailable an estimate will be used based on the users age and gender and whether they have been diagnosed by a healthcare professional.

 

 

Employers can contact groundmiles@bupa.com for a free ‘campaign in a box’ to run a successful ‘Hearts at Work campaign.

 

 

About Bupa

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives.

With no shareholders, our customers are our focus. We reinvest profits into providing more and better healthcare for the benefit of current and future customers.

We have 15.5 million health insurance customers, provide healthcare to around 14.5 million people in our clinics and hospitals, and look after over 23,300 aged care residents.

We employ over 78,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, Chile, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the USA, Brazil, the Middle East and Ireland, and many more through our associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India.

Health insurance is around 70% of our business. In a number of countries, we also run clinics, dental centres, hospitals and care homes and villages.

For more information, visit www.bupa.com

 
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