Chronic illness: an economic issue for corporations

Pressure associated with modern economic settings and globalization is on the rise and has great repercussions on businesses and the hectic lifestyles of their employees. At the same time, the workload of many jobs is now much more intellectual than physical. Chronic stress, work overload and sedentary work conditions, often in association with an unhealthy diet, are all factors that can predispose someone to chronic illness.

Consequently, the workplace is becoming the new target for lifestyle improvements, so as to reach a maximum number of people in their day-to-day lives. This contributes to improved corporate health, giving organizations a competitive edge. Occupational health is therefore an economic issue that can benefit all. In fact, the GP2S group has stated, based on research done in collaboration with Visa Desjardins, that “every dollar invested in the overall health of employees can give a return of up to five dollars to a company.”. [1]. More information


Illness prevention and promotion of health in the workplace can help guard against a significant obstacle to a company’s development: burnout. If a company is to play a role in these health issues, it must promote the individual’s responsibility toward their own health and choices. Different organizational strategies can prevent burnout. Promotion of global health is one way, along with encouraging the commitment, participation and motivation of each individual.

It is not only about managing the risks or lessening the negative effects associated with workload, but also about developing the potential and capabilities of their own employees, with respect to the limitations and possibilities of each one. This strategy also facilitates the recognition of individuals who are more susceptible to facing burnout or depression, and offers them personalized support. The employee then becomes a partner with their company to resolve issues that present such heavy physical and psychological consequences.

Stress and chronic illness

The impact of continuous stress on the body and  its effects on the individual, is now well-known. Stress affects both psychological and physical health, and it specifically weakens the neuro-endocrinial, vascular, and immune systems. In association with a sedentary lifestyle and a deficient diet too high in processed foods, chronic stress propagates inflammation throughout the body that can, for example, lead to development of cancers and certain psychological disorders, like depression.

Research has clearly shown that a change in lifestyle can slow down and sometimes even reverse the development of many chronic illnesses. This is why some key health professionals now advocate the benefits of alternative medicine in the treatment of many chronic health conditions. 


[1] Prévention au travail. Volume 23, # 3, summer 2010. Published by CSST & IRSST.

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