A very interesting European has recently suggested that perhaps 70 percent of workers are dehydrated, and that occupational safety and work performance may be in question. It is an interesting study in that it points out that hydration is an important aspect of maintaining focus and concentration throughout a work day.
Study addresses industries predisposed to heat stress
The study particularly addresses industries that are predisposed to heat stress, but also comments on the simple failure of individuals to maintain water balance throughout the day.
Research may help frame the effects of hydration in terms of work performance
Drinking more water is something that many people acknowledge as a potential improvement they would like to make. This study may help to frame the effects of hydration in terms of work performance, which for many is an important motivator.
Workers over a 2 year period across 5 different European Industries were studied
The study looked at workers over a 2 year period across 5 different European Industries. 139 workers from four countries were included: Denmark, Cyprus, Greece, and Spain. The industries were Manufacturing, agricultural, police, tourism and construction.
“Very high prevalence of dehydration was a surprise to us”
“The very high prevalence of dehydration was a surprise to us, and the potential influence on workers cognitive function and motor performance in key industries is quite problematic, because it markedly increase the risk of making mistakes and therefore threaten both safety and productivity,” says professor Lars Nybo from the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at University of Copenhagen, and project coordinator for Heat-Shield.
Study looked at cognitive and motor function and how both dehydration with occupational heat stress could pose significant occupational hazard
The study looked at cognitive and motor function and demonstrated how both dehydration coupled with occupational heat stress could pose a significant occupational hazard and detriment to productivity. Especially in industries that rely on workers’ cognitive function, hydration status may be a crucial element of work health-place culture to consider.
Certain industries, such as agricultural work, dehydration is aggravated as work day progresses
The study points out that in certain industries, such as agricultural work, the problem of dehydration is aggravated as a given work day progresses. However, across all industries, the failure to rehydrate from day to day, or in other words, maintaining a chronic dehydrated state, elevates the degree of dehydration experienced on subsequent days.
Andreas Flouris, Associate Professor at the University of Thessaly, Greece, and head of the field studies conducted in Southern Europe emphasizes that the problem can be even bigger in the near future: “This is already a problem under the current conditions. However, facing a future with more frequent heat waves it is of utmost importance for workers to adopt better hydration habits and for companies to develop effective hydration strategies.”
Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at Love is Medicine to explore the convergence of love and health.