Healthy dose of work
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Healthy dose of work

THE DAYS of popping a pill and soldiering on in the face of illness could soon be over, with studies suggesting healthy workers are more productive workers.

Absenteeism accounts for about $6 billion in lost productivity in Australia each year.

Former Brumbies player Clyde Rathbone runs a business helping Government departments with preventative health for employees.

Former Brumbies player Clyde Rathbone runs a business helping Government departments with preventative health for employees.Credit:colleen petch

But presenteeism - attending work in ill health - was estimated to cost business about $25 billion each year.

The results have Australian companies investing in the wellbeing of their staff and a Canberra business is cashing in on the preventative health trend.

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Health Futures, owned and operated by former Wallaby star Clyde Rathbone and wife Carrie, designs workplace health programs for business and government departments.

''Most people assume the biggest health-related cost in the workplace is absenteeism, but research is showing presenteeism is worse,'' Mr Rathbone said.

''You're at work but because of illness, you're not functioning to full capacity.''

Health Futures' approach involves conducting comprehensive health checks of all staff members, including blood, vision, lung and blood pressure tests.

A group health report is then presented to management and a staff health program is developed.

The program is then reassessed after 12 months and tailored to suit results.

''It's not that difficult; it's just about developing some simple lifestyle strategies but doing them consistently,'' Mr Rathbone said. Dieticians Association of Australia spokeswoman Julie Gilbert said a balanced diet was the quickest and easiest way to improve health.

It just takes some planning.

''Stop using work as an excuse for making bad choices,'' Ms Gilbert said.

''Most of the mornings, we're pretty good because we're still bright and alert after breakfast.

''The afternoon is where we can fall into a trap, just a little bit of planning, like carrying healthy snacks, will stop the drop in blood sugar and the munchies coming through.''

Ms Gilbert said drinking more water, cutting down on milk and sugar in tea and coffee, and balancing food groups at lunch were simple ways to rapidly improve health.

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