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Can health promotion at the workplace help prevent cancer?

Vainio H; Stayner L
Scand J Work Environ Health 2002 Jun; 28(3):137-139
The workplace has become an increasingly important site for disseminating health information and implementing health promotion activities. The creation of "healthy workplaces" must include the preven tion of occupational disease and injury, as well as the promotion of positive healthy life-style behavior. Approaching cancer prevention in a comprehensive manner at the workplace is not only scientifically sound, but also sound public health policy. Complementing the reduction of exposures to carcinogens in the workplace with reductions in exposures under the control of individual choice will maximize the potential for occupational cancer prevention, since the many risks of a person are often additive or multiplicative. The most-exciting developments in experimental and epidemiologic research during the last few years are the leads being gained regarding factors that may reduce cancer risk. As we have learned more about such factors as energy balance, physical activity, and specific constituents of the diet and their relationship to human cancer risk, the potential for more general approaches to cancer prevention seems increasingly possible. The concept of creating healthy workplaces through workplace health promotion has been identified as a legitimate area of activity for public health policy as a means of improving the health and well-being of the population at large (1, 2). Benefits accrue to businesses, organizations, and individual persons from the enhancement of positive healthy life-style messages in addition to the reinforcement of the principles of good occupational health and safety practices. Commit- ment to delivering the concept is required from all the key players, who include employers, employees, trade union groups, and health and safety professionals. A healthy workplace model needs to be created that is flexible and adaptable to suit all types of business and, in particular, the needs of the small and medium-size workplaces that predominate in the United States and many European countries.
Workplace-studies; Smoking; Weight-factors; Cancer; Food; Health-programs; Behavior-patterns; Author Keywords: cancer; editorial; health promotion; prevention; workplace
Harri Vainio, MD, Unit of Chemoprevention, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
Publication Date
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Fiscal Year
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NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Risk Assessment Methods
Source Name
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health
Page last reviewed: May 27, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division