​Dear Colleagues,

May 3 is the official start of the first Inter-Hospital Health Challenge between UHN and Mount Sinai, Sick Kids, St. Mikes and Toronto Rehab Hospitals. I'm hoping that all of you will seize the opportunity to get active, have fun and beat the competition by forming teams and participating in the challenge.

The Wellness Program at UHN has been around for a few years now and one of its goals involves assisting staff to reduce their individual health risks. Based on a 2006 health survey, 36% of our staff have three or more health risks.

Overall, the health of many Canadians is declining. 60% of Canadians are obese or overweight, 1 in 4 have pre-diabetes or diabetes, up to 40% of the adult population have elevated cholesterol levels and 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke.  The World Health Organization states that the main risks for chronic disease are an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use. Moreover, 80% of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancer cases could be avoided through reducing risk in these three lifestyle related areas alone.

Let's think about that for a moment and consider, what if we could influence even 10% of these diseases by decreasing our individual risks - what an impact we could all have on our own health and well-being.

In a recent National Wellness Survey completed by Buffett and Company, stress and mental health issues were the top two national organizational health risk concerns. Further, the Health and Productivity, 2009/2010 North American Staying@Work Report concluded that the foremost sources of stress in North America are excessive work hours (75%), lack of work/life balance (65%) and fears about job loss (64%).

We take our employee's health and well-being very seriously and we hope that you do too. Ultimately, healthier staff translates into improved patient safety and satisfaction so please consider participating in this inter-hospital health challenge. If you have any questions or need more information, please go to the Wellness Intranet page and view the promotional video to get motivated!

Three hospitals, one team, GO UHN!

Bob

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