AU program encourages farm workplace wellness

assowary Coast Mayor Bill Shannon has launched a new interactive guide which aims to help agricultural producers to introduce health and wellbeing programs on their farms in order to gain the benefits to their business of:
  • Higher worker productivity
  • Decreased workers’ compensation and disability claims
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Greater ability to attract and retain workers to the farm*.
The interactive Live Well Farm Well Planning Guide is the work of Diabetes Queensland, Growcom and the Queensland Government and follows a pilot project with banana farms on the Cassowary Coast over the past two years.

“The Live Well Farm Well project was a two year collaborative partnership project,” said Growcom Acting CEO, Donna Mogg.

“It was implemented with five banana farms in the Cassowary Coast and achieved an increase in the number of rural industry workers’ knowledge and positive behaviour change in relation to physical activity and healthy eating practices.

“The Live Well Farm Well Planning Guide was developed from what we learnt from the pilot project to support farmers plan, deliver and evaluate workplace health and wellbeing programs in their businesses. Research shows that for every dollar a business invests in employee wellness, $4 in increased productivity is returned."

Present at the launch today, at the Australian Sugar Heritage Centre in Mourilyan, was Steve Lizzio from Liverpool River Bananas whose farming business took part in the pilot and who discussed the major benefits he found from the program.

The pilot project focused on practical ways rural workplaces could achieve simple health improvements to reduce the risk of chronic disease.

The farms developed programs that fit farming schedules and helped farm workers and managers get more active and eat healthily drawing from programs such as:
  • Eat It - Diabetes Queensland’s healthy eating program
  • 10,000 Steps program using pedometers to monitor daily physical activity
  • Quitline program
  • Policy and environmental changes at the workplace
  • Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service.
The overall aim of the project was to reduce the lifestyle risk factors for chronic disease in the rural sector. The Cassowary Coast was targeted as an area where 60.9 per cent of the population is overweight or obese and 60 per cent of people perform an inadequate amount of exercise for a health benefit.

The Live Well Farm Well Planning Guide can be accessed at www.growcom.com.au/live-well-farm-well.

For more information:
Donna Mogg
Growcom
Tel: +61 0418 181 807
www.growcom.com.au

*[Source: Medibank Private 2005. The Health of Australia’s Workforce, Medibank Private.]

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