Business traveller health overlooked

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New research has found that the health of frequent business travellers in the US may be rapidly deteriorating due to high stress levels and the hectic nature of work-related travel. Travel risk management company On Call International recently found via a national survey that 54 per cent of business travellers are less likely to exercise on a work trip compared to when they are not travelling. Even worse, 44 per cent say that they are more likely to eat unhealthy foods when away for business.

The high-pressure nature of business travel means that 36 per cent of travellers feel more stressed whilst away, and over a third have a problem sleeping. Dr William Siegart, chief medical officer at On Call International, asserted that the combination of these factors can result in serious health problems for health travellers: “Stress can lead to headaches, gastrointestinal distress and chest pain. It can exacerbate nearly every pre-existing condition and can lead to the development or worsening of anxiety, depression, skin rashes, asthma, cardiovascular disease and more.”

Business travellers may also be less likely to take regular medication, with one in 10 admitting they forget when away on business. They are more likely to indulge other vices when away too, with 16 per cent claiming they drink more when away, and eight per cent say that they are more likely to smoke.

Dr Siegart pointed out the duty of care the organisations have to help reduce these stressors for their business travellers, suggesting that companies should host hosting pre-travel health workshops to reinforce healthy travel behaviors. “These best practices can also have a positive impact on travelers’ overall, long-term health,” he added.

The survey found that only a quarter of business travellers considered the health implications when travelling for work, and On Call is encouraging organisations to elevate this issue, and implement a holistic travel management programme ‘that incorporates proactive education and training to help mitigate and respond to health-related travel risks’.  

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