Are many Nigerians making money at the expense of their health? BusinessDay Research recently had access to some interesting data compiled by Living Wealth Initiative (LWI), an NGO that offers free health examination and education across the country.
LWI frequently visits corporate organisations to offer free examination and counselling on health issues. They thus have quite interesting data on different organisations across different industries. After convincing them to black out the names of the companies on their data but indicate the industry the data is from, BusinessDay Research has been able to prepare a very interesting report on the health status of Nigerians based on the industry they work.
The LWI data specifically cover the health status indicators of individuals based on their Blood Pressure (BP), Stress, and Body Mass Index (BMI). The data are broken into age, sex, and occupation of Nigerians. The sectors covered by the data include banking, insurance, open markets, telecommunications, tourism, NGO and education. With these data, BusinessDay Research is able to show, for example, blood pressure levels in the banking industry compared to the insurance sector or traders in the open market.
The data cover over 5,000 people from different parts of Nigeria. In terms of gender composition of those tested, 75 percent are males while 25 percent are females. In terms of age, the data are grouped into seven brackets, ranging from 19-24 years (7 percent), 25-30 years (21 percent), 31-36 years (24 percent), 37-42 years (19 percent), 43-48 years (12 percent), 49-54 years (10 percent), and 54-60 years (8 percent). The breakdown thus also enables BusinessDay Research to further break down the health indicators based on age brackets.
Take the case of the weight of Nigerians tested based on their age and gender. The data show that an average 30.4 percent of Nigerian men are overweight, while another 10.7 percent are actually obese. For women, the level of obesity is on the higher side with an average of 26.1 percent of the women examined being obese and an average of 26.2 percent being overweight.
When it comes to hypertension, it is the men who are at greater risk. The test shows that an average of 50 percent of men examined were either pre-hypertensive or already hypertensive compared to just 28 percent of women.
The data also showed that health indicators were worse in some work environments than in others. For example, 38 percent of those tested who work in the insurance sector were either pre-hypertensive or already hypertensive, according to the date. The data for the banking sector was more worrisome with an average of 56.2 percent of examined bank staff either in the pre-hypertensive stage or already hypertensive. Interestingly, the pre-hypertensive and hypertensive conditions cut across ages. An average of 36 percent of banking staff in the 25-30 years age bracket were found to be pre-hypertensive, while 17.3 percent in the 19-24 years age bracket were also found to pre-hypertensive with 3.5 percent of them already hypertensive.
For the data collected among those who work in an office environment, government workers show the best health indicators with 62.5 percent of them showing normal blood pressure levels. Outside the office work environment, the best health indicators were found among workers in orphanage homes where only about 6.5 percent of staff were hypertensive. On the average, 25.8 percent of the staff in the orphanages were, however, pre-hypertensive and 67.7 percent had normal blood pressure levels. Also, market women were found to have better health indicators than their executive counterparts in the banking and insurance sectors.
The BusinessDay Research LWI report will be presented to the public next week at the LWI 2013 Grand Health Bazaar taking place from April 17-19. The hope is that the report will make corporates realise the need to create a work environment that is not detrimental to the health of the greatest asset they have: the staff of the organisation. Sadly, most corporates are not able to capture the cost, to the organisation, of poor health of staff. If this were captured on the balance sheet, perhaps more companies would pay attention to creating a healthy work environment.
The report also draws attention to the fact that individuals will have to also pay attention to their lifestyle choices in order not to jeopardise their health.
Note: If you want analysis or data on any company or any particular sector of the Nigerian economy or industry or have any other queries that BusinessDay Research Unit can help you with, kindly send a mail to [email protected]/en or call 08185193932. We can also help you with your confidential market surveys and competition analysis at a cost.
Editor, BusinessDay Research Unit
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