Original Research

An evaluation of the state of wellness amongst medical aid company employees in South Africa

Lee-Anne Naicker, Evangeline Nortje, Michael Kleynhans, Andre Stander, Yvette Hlophe, Ronél Ferreira, Albert van Schoor, Rina Buys, Sajee Alummootill, Joji Theron, Annie Joubert, Peet du Toit
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 34, No 1 | a1213 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v34i1.1213 | © 2015 Lee-Anne Naicker, Evangeline Nortje, Michael Kleynhans, Andre Stander, Yvette Hlophe, Ronél Ferreira, Albert van Schoor, Rina Buys, Sajee Alummootill, Joji Theron, Annie Joubert, Peet du Toit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 July 2014 | Published: 30 March 2015

About the author(s)

Lee-Anne Naicker, Department of Physiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Wellbeing, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Exercise Smart Team, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Evangeline Nortje, Department of Physiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Wellbeing, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Exercise Smart Team, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Michael Kleynhans, Department of Physiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Wellbeing, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Exercise Smart Team, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Andre Stander, Department of Physiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Wellbeing, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Exercise Smart Team, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Yvette Hlophe, Department of Physiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Wellbeing, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Exercise Smart Team, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Ronél Ferreira, Associate of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Wellbeing, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Department of Educational Psychology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Albert van Schoor, Associate of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Wellbeing, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Department of Anatomy, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Rina Buys, Associate of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Wellbeing, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Exercise Smart Team, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Department of Human Resources, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Sajee Alummootill, Department of Physiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Wellbeing, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Exercise Smart Team, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Joji Theron, Department of Physiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Annie Joubert, Department of Physiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Peet du Toit, Department of Physiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Wellbeing, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Associate of the Exercise Smart Team, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Current research in the area of wellness in the workplace is fragmented and requires a holistic, integrated and systemic understanding of employee wellness in order for health and wellness care to be effectively managed. The growing burden of noncommunicable conditions in South Africa highlights the necessity for prevention strategies such as wellness programmes to be implemented. The workplace provides an ideal setting as a large proportion of the population will be targeted, including those who require lifestyle improvement. Therefore this study sought to evaluate various health and wellness components among employees of a medical aid company in an attempt to identify risk areas which require further intervention. Participants were 140 employees of a medical aid company who work a minimum of 40 h per week and who were subjected to a wellness assessment battery, consisting of anthropometrical, health-related and physical capacity measurements. The results indicate that intervention is required in terms of alcohol and drug usage, dietary habits, heart health, body composition, muscular endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, and individual perceptions towards the company. This study produced results which corroborate the findings of a great deal of previous research in this field. However, the scope for applying wellness programmes to the South African population is limited. The success of wellness programmes which emphasise physical activity has been well documented in high-income countries, with evidence of economic benefits and return on investment. And so it is proposed that implementation of wellness programmes will have a positive effect on the South African workforce.

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