Research suggests one in four nurses are obese or overweight.
Nurses and allied healthcare professionals should be encouraged by employers to be active in order to fight against the rising “obesity crisis”.
The suggestions come alongside new clinical guidance which recommends employers subsidise gym memberships and even offer yoga during lunch breaks to help tackle obesity.
The new guidelines, published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), also advise trusts to introduce stand-up meetings and ensure staircases are “clearly signposted and attractive to use”.
Statistics suggest that two-thirds of people in the UK are obese or overweight, with one in four nurses also falling in this category.
NICE suggests the measure may also reduce staff sickness rates, increase staff satisfaction and improve the work environment.
People are not exercising enough.
Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: “If the United Kingdom’s 5.7 million small and medium sized businesses encouraged their workforce to be more active, they are more likely to reap the benefits of having engaged employees who are more productive and are less likely to take time off sick.
“Simple things like providing secure bicycle storage, showers and changing facilities can go a long way to enabling people to cycle to work or to meetings.
“As a society we are facing an obesity crisis caused in part by people not exercising enough. We need people to change their lifestyle and to take more exercise. If they can do this during the working day, not only will they benefit, but so too will their employers and the NHS. It’s a win, win for everyone.”
Public Health Minister Seema Kennedy, said: “We have a world leading plan to tackle obesity with prevention at its core, and later this summer we will be setting out further action on obesity and physical activity through a prevention green paper.
“It is vital that employers embrace prevention to ensure their staff stay fit and healthy.