Providing healthy workplaces for all ages is the answer to today's demographic challenges

April 18th, 2016

The 4th International Healthy Lifestyle Symposium focuses on the connection of health and working conditions as well as on new approaches to maintaining a healthy lifestyle

Providing healthy workplaces for all ages is the answer to today's demographic challenges

By taking care of safe and healthy workplaces, and a healthy lifestyle, one can contribute a lot to the overall wellbeing of employees, increase their productivity and keep them healthy into old age.

(Ljubljana, 18.4.2016) By taking care of a healthy lifestyle and safe and healthy workplaces for all ages, we are addressing the challenges of the demographic changes. The increased life expectancy forces us to stay highly productive and healthy throughout our lives. In middle age, however, there are more health issues among employees which have negative effects on their productivity. There is a growing awareness among companies that proper management of the elderly at work, intergenerational solidarity, as well as a healthy lifestyle and ageing are key elements of business success. These aspects are also paid special attention to in the field of protection of safety and health at work. This is why, at this year's International Healthy Lifestyle Symposium, which focuses on the topic of Healthy Workplaces for All Ages, the organisers bring together expertise from different fields: safety and health at work, occupational medicine, psychology, sports, and nutrition. Furthermore, practices enhanced by new technological approaches, connecting all these fields, will be introduced. One of these approaches is also the 24alife e-tool that has been developed at the development centre RC IKTS Žalec which is also one of the hosts of this annual symposium. At the same time, the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the Republic of Slovenia will parallel with the opening of the symposium launch the European campaign "Healthy Workplace 2016–2017: Healthy Workplaces for All Ages," that is carried out under the auspices of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA). The purpose of this campaign is to stimulate the efforts for a sustainable working life and a healthy ageing throughout the entire professional career. A special focus will be given to micro and small companies, facing prejudices and stereotypes about the elderly workers and ageing, and the cooperation between different generations at workplace.

Throughout the symposium, the participants get acquainted with the importance of health prevention throughout the working life. People's health in a later age very much depends on the working conditions in a younger age. Health issues and occupational diseases need to be prevented. At the same time, an integrated approach needs to be continually developed focusing on a friendly and healthy working environment for all generations of employees, health prevention and development. Workplace health promotion has many advantages: it improves the health and the overall wellbeing of the employees. Work is good for the physical and mental health and it is never too late to introduce measures for a better safety and health of employees of all ages. In risk assessment it is of key importance to bear in mind the employees' diversity. The employer has to adjust the work to every individual employee by providing an appropriate workplace and working environment, working space, working and technological procedures, appropriately choose the work equipment and personal protecting equipment, as well as working and production methods. Thus, the productivity and the costs efficiency can be increased. Healthy, productive and motivated workers enable a company to stay competitive and innovative. In addition to that, the company keeps the important experiences and expertise, reduces the absence from work, the employee turnover and increases the overall wellbeing at workplace.

In the framework of the symposium, a special attention is given to the modern IT tools that are meant for organisers and health promoters that enable every individual to lead a healthy lifestyle through integrated expert, methodological and logistic experiences. With these tools everyone can maintain a healthy lifestyle, monitor their health status and stay motivated to continue with this lifestyle, in personal as in the working environment. A solution was developed within the 24alife programme and the development centre RC IKTS Žalec by an acclaimed team of international experts from the fields of medicine, psychology, nutrition and sports. It is an innovative e-solution which supports planning, tracks and assesses the effectiveness of the workplace health promotion activities in companies through a mobile application and a web portal. The Faculty of Sports at the University of Ljubljana – the Laboratory for Kinesiology (head of project Prof. Vojko Strojnik, Ph.D.), the Faculty of Sports at the University of Ljubljana – Department of Psychology (head of project Prof. Matej Tušak, Ph.D.), the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ljubljana – (head of project Prof. Alojz Ihan, M.D., Ph.D.), the University of Graz – the Institute of Psychology (head of project Paul Jiménez, Ph.D.), the Dutch development institute TNO and the Mayo Clinic in the US (head of project Prof. Dr. Juraj Sprung, M.D., Ph.D.) co-operated in the development of this research and technological project. The interactive communication platform for encouraging a healthy lifestyle of the employees, the 24alife Corporate solution, enables an easy access to the content on adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, encouraging the employees to track their activities and their progress, at their workplace, as well as in their free time. 24alife Corporate programmes have already been implemented in many companies and organisations in Slovenia and abroad.

The 4th International Healthy Lifestyle Symposium is organised by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, the Ministry of Health, the development centre RC IKTS Žalec within the 24alife Project and the Medical Chamber of Slovenia, in cooperation with the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) which is also co-financing the event. At the press conference which was an introduction to the symposium, the following people participated: Peter Pogačar, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Nina PIRNAT, M.D., State Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Nataša TRČEK, Chief Labour Inspector of the Republic of Slovenia, Prof. Alojz IHAN, M.D., Ph.D., Head of the Laboratory for Cellular Immunology and the Department for Immunology at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ljubljana, Prof. Kerry OLSEN, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Director of the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Centre and the Chair of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Committee, and Janez UPLAZNIK, the CEO of the development centre RC IKTS Žalec.

At the symposium in Ljubljana, lecturers from across the world will hold lectures, i.e. from the US (the Mayo Clinic), Austria, Finland (Berner Ltd.), the Netherlands, Ireland, India (Appolo Hospitals) and Slovenia. The symposium can be followed by lifestream at the following link: .

Additional information for the media:

Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

Tel.: 00386 1 369 78 11, T: 00386 1 369 78 13

RC IKTS Žalec d.o.o. , Tel.: 00386 5 922 65 00