6 November 2015

Heart disease is the main cause of death globally, and health and care company Bupa has said people's work can directly affect heart health: teachers and medical professionals do best in this regard, its research found.

In their case, their "heart age" is on average 2.8 and 2 years older than their physical age whereas, Bupa found, the average working person’s heart age is 3.3 years above their actual age.

For "Hearts at Work", a campaign created by Bupa and the World Heart Federation, over 8000 consumers globally took a heart age check. This 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.

As well as medicine and teaching, the other jobs with the best heart health have been found to include IT and information services, retail and sales, and accountancy and banking.

People involved in manual labour, on the other hand, have an average 8.7 year difference between their actual age and their heart age. In transport and logistics, the difference is 7.2 years and in property and construction it is 7 years.

Industries where employers have pioneered employee health and wellbeing initiatives have seen heart health improved with the most meaningful improvement to heart age being through the provision of healthy eating options.

Dr. Fiona Adshead, Bupa's Chief Wellbeing and Public Health Officer, 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."

Making small changes, such as providing healthy lunch options, can take up to a year off heart age, she pointed out.