Last reviewed 27 June 2019

Employers have been urged to be aware of the wellbeing challenges facing Generation Z workers, despite the fact that they are widely understood to be a healthy cohort, drinking and smoking less than previous generations.

Gen Z workers are those born after 1996 — so aged 18 to 23 in 2019 — and this cohort of employees, are, according to recent advice from The Health Insurance Group, half as likely to meet the recommended levels of physical activity as Millennials (aged 23 to 28).

Lack of exercise (explained partly by their love for social media and related isolation) and poor diet (in part, blamed on hidden high sugars in modern day food and drink) is a lethal combination that is negatively affecting the short- and long-term health of Gen Z, according to the company.

As a result, employers are being urged to educate Gen Z workers about healthy lifestyles, diet and nutrition to help tackle concerns about obesity within this cohort of employees.

Brett Hill, Managing Director at The Health Insurance Group, said, “The temptation for businesses can be to deal with current crises, rather than focus on prevention when it comes to healthcare. Employers may therefore be focusing their health and wellbeing efforts on supporting those that already have an existing condition, rather than concentrating on how to improve the overall health of others now and in the future.

“No truer is this than with Gen Z. Whilst headlines would suggest risky lifestyle indicators, such as smoking and drinking, are reducing in this generation — these are being replaced by other long-term health risks that urgently need addressing. Many employers have the tools and means at their disposal to encourage a healthier lifestyle — such as access to nutrition talks, discounted gym memberships, cycle-to-work schemes, etc — which should be implemented across all age demographics in the workforce to support the health and wellbeing of staff.”