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Table 1 Process leading to a recommendation for promoting work ability in an aging society

From: Health care strategy for ensuring work ability in an aging Korea

Current status and problem Low birth rate and aging population
Aging of the workforce
Shortage of labor/Reduced work ability
<Cause 1> The high prevalence rate of chronic degenerative diseases in the elderly, such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus, causes an increase in the number of people with cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease.
(※ From now on, chronic degenerative diseases (e.g. cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease, degenerative arthritis, and depression) will be a major occupational health issue that have a greater impact on quality of life and worker productivity than occupational diseases.)
< Cause 2> There is an increase in accidents due to physiological deterioration of workers such as visual/auditory function, muscle strength, and body control.
Counter-measure 1. Prevention of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease in workers.
<Strategy> To conduct follow-up management based on risk level through assessment of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases from general health examinations.
- Moderate- and high-risk groups: strict management of basic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
- All groups: reduction of risk factors based on lifestyle, such as smoking, unhealthy dietary habits, and lack of physical activity, through workers’ health promotion programs.
2. Plan to improve the work ability of the elderly
< Strategy> Support the establishment of a work environment that is appropriate for elderly workers who have reduced physical capacity.
Obstacles 1. Employers do not consider cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease prevention activities as a mandatory occupational health measure.
2. General medical examination results are usually not accessible to employers, unlike the occupational medical examination results.
3. Professional personnel running health promotion programs in the workplace are often not present or are unavailable.
Solutions 1. Massive publicity campaign on the significance of follow-up measures of general medical examinations and the prevention of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases as employer obligations.
2. National health examination data sharing between the Ministry of Health and Welfare (National Health Insurance Corporation) and the Ministry of Employment and Labor (Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency).
3. Establish and operate a local council and collaborate with local governments to make full use of community resources such as a public health center, health promotion center, and workers’ health center.
(※ Ensuring stable funding for active workplace health promotion programs/Revising the relevant laws and regulations, such as National Health Promotion Act and Framework Act on Health Examination, to make it easier to use community resources.)