BT Workfit

Workfit 6 Diabetes

Around 8,000 BT people are estimated to have diabetes - but one in four is unaware of the fact. This astonishing statistic sets the scene for the latest Work Fit programme - called "Work Fit - What's your risk?" - for BT people that is now underway.
A joint initiative between the BT Trade Unions - CWU and Connect, BT, the and the charity Diabetes UK, the new Work Fit campaign seeks to raise awareness of diabetes - dubbed "the silent assassin" - and to dispel some of the myths associated with it.
The campaign is being supported by a series of roadshows, both in the UK and across the globe. BT people in the UK are being invited to register their attendance at a roadshow in advance, with the chance of winning a day pass to a luxury spa.
The six-week Work Fit programme emphasises the preventative lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk of developing the more common Type 2 diabetes - often linked to obesity.
It also aims to help people assess their risk of having diabetes and encourages them to go for screening without delay if they suspect they are experiencing diabetes symptoms.
BT chief medical officer Paul Litchfield said: "Diabetes is now considered a serious threat to global health - in fact, the figures are quite staggering. Every 20 minutes, a person dies from diabetes-related causes - and four people are diagnosed with diabetes.
"It currently affects 246 million people worldwide - and that figure is expected to grow to 380 million people by 2025."

Speaking on behalf of the CWU Andy Kerr said that the CWU is actively supporting this campaign and our safety reps will be working to spread the message and ensure that it reaches a wide section of members and their families. 
BT Group health advisor Catherine Kilfedder points out that the longer diabetes goes undetected, the more likely it is that serious complications such as heart disease, stroke and kidney failure will develop. 
She said: "We also know that up to 80 per cent of type 2 diabetes is preventable through improved nutrition, increased physical activity and good weight management. The new Work Fit campaign aims to encourage personal responsibility for health - emphasising prevention and early detection, and providing guidance on workplace issues." 


Previous WorkFit Campaigns 
Workfit 5: Cancer and You
The CWU, Connect and BT worked in partnership on a major WorkFit campaign on Cancer awareness. BT's Work Fit: Cancer and you campaign was been drawn up in collaboration with the Communication Workers Union and Connect and with the support of the Cancer charity Cancerbackup which is the UK's leading cancer information charity. 
Cancerbackup provides information, understanding and support on any cancer, its treatment and care. The charity provides a free phone helpline, staffed by cancer nurse specialists; has eight walk-in information centres in England; and produces a comprehensive range of publications (70 booklets and 300 fact sheets), all free to patients and their families, at this website www.cancerbackup.org.uk 
Each year 250 BT people are newly diagnosed with cancer and another 2,000 have overcome the disease and are back working for the company. Different cancers are commoner at different ages but, in general, the risk increases as we get older so that looking across the whole of our lives our chances of developing cancer are one in three and that's rising. That means that cancer will affect each and every one of us - either because we become ill ourselves or because it strikes a close family member, a friend or a colleague. 

'Work Fit - Cancer and you' included: 

  • Comprehensive information and guidance available over a six week period commencing 16 October - more information can be found on the BT intranet 'Work Fit - Cancer and you' web site at: http://humanresources.intra.bt.com/health/workfit/cancercampaign.htm 
  • A series of roadshows across the UK and beyond. 
  • An event addressed by CWU Deputy General Secretary Jeannie Drake has taken place in BT Centre Auditorium on 23 October that included a 'drop-in' interactive information fair for everyone at BT Centre on that day.
  • A range of local initiatives created and delivered by the unions and local BT management. 

Workfit 1 was the biggest lifestyle initiative undertaken in British Industry. WorkFit 1, was a partnership between BT, the BT unions, (CWU and Connect) and the Men's Health Foundation. 

The CWU and Connect worked with BT on the first WorkFit health initiative which ran between September 2005 and January 2006. This was the biggest lifestyle initiative undertaken in British Industry, and comes from fact that within BT one person a fortnight dies from a heart related illness. CWU Safety Reps ran road shows up and down the country and turned WorkFit into the success it has become. Dr Ian Banks, Chair of the Men's Health Foundation, said that without the CWU WorkFit would never have happened and he praised the work of our USRs. 

The campaign was aimed at getting the entire BT workforce to look at work life balance, and to give help and advice on how to avoid heart problems, get fit, loose weight, stroke prevention, lowering cholesterol, having a healthier diet and a healthier lifestyle. 
The Workfit website included things such as; 
Access to Nurses engaged by Men's Health Forum to act as Lifestyle advisors available to answer e-mail questions and give dietary and fitness advice. 
Frequently Asked Questions section 
Body Mass Index Guide 
Useful health information sites 
Those taking part were be sent a "health toolkit", consisting a mini men's health manual, pedometer, various health publications, tape measure, details of sponsorship ideas, reduced / discounted gym memberships, discounts for blood pressure tests and cholesterol tests. 
The main points made about WorkFit at the awards ceremony were: 

  • Due to the involvement of the trade unions it became a mass participatory initiative - 16,000 people (out of 90,000) signed up to the 16-week programme. 
  • Because a majority of the workforce in BT is male, and because it is known to be harder to recruit men to lifestyle change programmes, Work Fit had to be designed to attract men as well as women. It succeeded - about 75% of the participants were male, broadly in line with the workforce demographic. 
  • About 5,000 people could be tracked through the programme. The key indicator of weight loss shows that the majority lost weight (2.3 kg on average). 
  • A four-month follow-up showed that for a majority the lifestyle improvements were sustained and the Work Fit model has been used in subsequent BT health programmes (smoking, mental health, cancer next). 
  • Work Fit shows the union effect in the workplace, where union safety reps delivered a key health initiative. This model could now be used in other workplaces. 

WorkFit 1 has achieved major recognition by being in a shortlist of four out of fifteen hundred entries for the annual Health and Social Care Awards. The awards exist to celebrate the immense pool of talent and initiative in health and social care. They are run in partnership between the Department of Health and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement and are the most important opportunity within the NHS and social care to identify, recognise and reward excellence in the provision of care at the frontline. 
The National Ceremony of the Health and Social Care Awards was held on Monday 26 February 2007 at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel. Broadcaster Jeremy Vine hosted this year's ceremony. Also taking part were the Secretary of State for Health, the Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, and an audience consisting of national finalists, Ministers and people from across health and social care. The four finalists were: 
Six8four Centre- Six8four Haringey United Football Team- Haringey Social Services and Street League 
Specialised Supported Living Service Team- Specialised Supported Living Service, Leeds Mental Health NHS Trust 
Listening Bags Project Team- Sure Start Ashfield North Children's Centre, Nottinghamshire County Teaching PCT 
Work Fit- The Men's Health Forum; BT; BT Unions, National Obesity Forum and Roche Pharmaceuticals. 
The overall winners were the Specialised Supported Living Service Team. 
The Awards web site is at: www.healthandsocialcareawards.org 
The men's health forum web site is at: www.menshealthforum.org.uk/ 
Workfit 2 was held to coincide with National No Smoking day on 14th March 2006. CWU Safety reps again held roadshows with the support of Primary Care Trusts to provide help, awareness and assistance for people to quit smoking. 
WorkFit 3 had the union asking Branches to raise awareness of members in BT for the activities associated with the BT Work Fit for Sport Relief website www.btworkfit.com/index.php 

The Website was designed especially to help BT staff and their families prepare for the Sport Relief Mile run on July 15th 20006. 
The web site focused on the many interlinked ways to improve health and fitness levels in preparation for the annual Sport Relief Mile. 
There are helpful articles and initiatives on the website that can be accessed right away. For example, you can take a look at what you are eating and assess whether you could do with changing a few habits. Or start thinking about your fitness levels and find out about the first steps you need to take to improve them. 
Any member of BT staff or their family can benefit from the information and advice on the website. 
BT has sponsored Sport Relief since its debut in 2002 and again be provided telephony, network management, call centres and volunteers for the appeal - as well as providing the e-donate platform as a robust back-up to Sport Relief's existing facility.


WorkFit 4 was held to coincide with World Mental Health Day on Tuesday 10th October 2006, BT launched Workfit 4 - 'Mind how you go/body and mind'. It was a 16 week programme with eight modules aimed at getting people thinking about their mental health and explaining what they can do to build positive changes into their life. This was done in partnership with the BT Unions, Sainsbury mental health group, MIND and local NHS mental health trusts. 

Each fortnight the campaign gave one of the 'positive steps' promoted by the World Mental Health Day campaign - advice that has been shown to help with symptoms of distress, as a well as preventing problems occurring or becoming overwhelming. 

There were 8 web based modules over a 16 week programmed period; each module had a quiz at the end of the fortnight. Those participating in the quiz, and achieving a level, was entered for a prize draw. 

The objectives of the programme were: 

  • create awareness of what is meant by mental health 
  • create understanding of the need for individuals to take responsibility of their own well being by taking steps that will help to prevent mental health conditions developing 
  • Provide details of the support available to line managers and individuals to help them manage their own well being 
  • Recognise there will be people in BT who are currently experiencing mental ill-health issues and make them to feel included in the campaign and that the advice and guidance being provided will be relevant and supportive to them also 

The Eight Modules were: 

  • Module 1- Keep active 
  • Module 2-Eat well and drink sensibly 
  • Module 3 -Relax 
  • Module 4- Keep in touch with friends 
  • Module 5-Talk about it 
  • Module 6 - Maintain close relationships 
  • Module 7 - Ask for help 
  • Module 8 - Accept who you are

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