Comparative studies on promotion of health and life style of hospital staff in Sweden and Poland

Anna Bajek 3,  
Jerzy Leppert 5,  
Wiesław Bryl 8,  
Chair of Social Medicine, Department of Hygiene, University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Vrinnevi Hospital, Department of Ophthalmology Syncentralen, Norrköping, Sweden
District Hospital, Kalisz, Poland
Chair of Social Medicine, Department of Hygiene, University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland; Department of Mother and Child Health, University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Centre for Clinical Research – Uppsala University, Central Hospital Västerås, Västerås, Sweden
Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Medical University, Gdansk, Poland
Department of Hygiene and Dietetics, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
Department of Internal Medicine, Metabolic Disorders and Arterial Hypertension, University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2012;19(4):732–737
Introduction. Recently, an increase has been observed in the number of patients suffering from diseases which are the consequence of an anti-health life style; therefore it is necessary to undertake proper actions in this area, including those addressed to hospital staff. Objectives. 1) Comparison of self-reported state of health and life style between hospital staff in Sweden and Poland, and the motivation of these employees to change the to-date life style for one that is more health promoting. 2) Presentation, based on Swedish experiences in the field of health promotion in hospitals, of the possibilities to implement these changes in Polish conditions. Material and method. The study covered the staff from the following hospitals: 1) hospitals in Östergötland County, Sweden, and 2) the Ludwik Perzyna Regional Polyclinical Hospital in Kalisz, Poland. The studies were conducted in parallel in Sweden and in Poland during the fourth quarter 2010. The research instrument was a questionnaire form. Results. The following measures should be undertaken by the staff of Polish hospitals: an increase in the consumption of fruit and vegetables, physical activity, organization of workshops aimed at the shaping of skills of coping with stress and relieving stress, assistance in reducing body weight and increasing physical activity. Obligatory breaks at work should be introduced for the consumption of meals and intake of beverages, including water, promotion of fluid replacement would reduce fatigue. An obligatory lunchtime would allow each employee to consume a decent meal, and consequently have respite away from one’s own work activities. In order to have a well-functioning staff an employer should, in his/her own interest, decrease potential sick absenteeism, provide incentives for motor activity, e.g. by the organization of groups, reduction of weekly working time on behalf of documented physical activity, or financial support for the purchase of tickets for various forms of physical exercises. Promotion of collective exercise, e.g. common nordic walking for 30 min. during lunch, competition in the largest number of steps made. Promotion of healthy nutrition by the preparation of recipes for meals, several exemplary healthy meals in the form of a healthy alternative breakfast. During this event, a basket of fruit is provided, instead of cakes and sweets. Conclusions. 1) The life style of the staff of health care facilities is more health promoting in Sweden than in Poland. 2) It is possible to change the life style of employees of health care facilities into one that is more health promoting. Changes in this area have been made in Sweden with a great success; therefore, it is worthwhile implementing in Poland these Swedish experiences which may function also in Polish conditions. 3) The foundations of health promotion in enterprises have been known for a long time; however, considering the fact that the comparative studies show that these foundations are more advanced in Sweden, it is necessary that Polish employers devote more attention to this problem, and become interested in Swedish experiences in this area.