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Better Health at Work

Better Health at Work

 

Monkseaton High School is a comprehensive secondary school situated in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, England for 13- to 18-year-olds. One of the first schools to sign up to the Better Health at Work Award, we have recently submitted for silver award accreditation and are currently planning health campaigns and actions required to achieve gold.

 

The health and wellbeing of pupils and staff at the school remains a key focus and is in line with the priorities of North Tyneside’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy for 2013 – 2023. Since joining the Better Health at Work Award Monkseaton High school has:

  • Recruited a dedicated staff health and wellbeing/ workload group
  • Introduced a staff wellbeing room
  • Organised on site flu vaccinations for staff
  • Planned a range of wellbeing INSET days for staff
  • Arranged a number of extra-curricular fitness sessions for staff
  • Participated in a number of local and national charity events
  • Hosted coffee mornings to raise funds for extremely worthwhile causes
  • Provided facilities to encourage staff to cycle to work
  • Developed a number of information guides to educate staff, their families and the local community about important health related information
  • Created links to support our local community with health and wellbeing
  • Dedicated wellbeing campaigns each month based on staff needs

 

As part of our health and wellbeing strategy, we carried out a staff health survey which identified that healthier eating and weight management was a common aim for the majority of staff. Most responses suggesting that staff were consuming too many calories and not eating the correct balance of nutrients. In addition to this a large proportion of staff considered themselves as ‘overweight’ in the questionnaire and felt they could be healthier.

Based on the above findings, we launched a campaign around improving diet, lifestyle and reducing calories. We had a number of areas of focus, one of which was to look at (often hidden) sugars in alcohol. A sugar in alcohol display was set up to educate staff on the (extremely surprising!) amounts of sugar and empty calories in popular alcoholic beverages.

 

A visual display was set up in the staff room which showed the amount of sugar (in teaspoons). In addition to the above, the display also contained tips to reduce the sugar and understanding units when drinking alcohol. Staff also had access to ‘healthier drinking tips and information on how many units certain drinks had, the hazards of drinking too much, and an alcohol-free summer drink recipes sheet.

 

 

Staff were informed of the long-term impact of too much alcohol and the link between alcohol and certain cancers. The risks of alcohol to health, how to reduce them were shared with staff via presentations, leaflets and email. Staff were also made aware of Dry January and the health benefits of abstaining from drinking alcohol.

 

 

 

The campaign was extremely successful and had an excellent staff uptake; it prompted conversations with staff and gave them information they could digest and share with their family and friends. The comments from the healthier diet campaign were very encouraging, many staff reported losing weight as a result of making healthier lifestyle choices, with one member of staff claiming it has “completely changed” what they chose to eat and drink.

Maureen Turner was extremely supportive at guiding us and offering advice throughout the campaign. The award has allowed us to plan fun and engaging activities to help improve the outcomes of staff and the families of those who work at our school.

 

For information on joining the programme contact Maureen Turner, Health Improvement Practitioner Specialist, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust on 0191 270 4514 or visit www.betterhealthatworkne.org

 

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