HEALTH PROMOTOIN CHALLENGES AT SEA - A DANISH CASE L Hjarnoe, Centre for Maritime Health and Safety, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark INTRODUCTION: For the past 15 years the need for health promotion initiatives in the maritime sector has become more and more evident. Thus previous studies have documented increased mortality and morbidity (incidences) among seafarers, not only due to accidents but also to lifestyle like cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and diseases related to alcohol. These diseases are related to factors like alcohol consumption, obesity, physical inactivity and smoking, which for the latter three are factors highly represented in the maritime industry. The aim of this study is to identify the current health status of seafarers and to detect, strengths and weaknesses of health promotion interventions implemented in this target group. METHODS: A 1 year follow-up study was conducted within two Danish shipping companies aiming to collect information on the seafarers’ health, wellbeing, diet, smoking, alcohol and physical activity. Within this period, health promotion interventions were offered; health profile (physiological measurements/tests), smoking cessation courses, physical training, and healthy food courses. Based on data from the questionnaire study, qualitative interviews and participant observations, a process evaluation of the planning, implementation and effects of the interventions is currently being conducted RESULTS: Preliminary results from the follow-up survey reveal a 40% dropout rate (n=143) of employees from the baseline questionnaire survey (n=360) and a 43% dropout rate (n=111) among employees that received the baseline health profile (n=259). According to tests 70% were overweight (n=190) and out of these 24% were obese (n=64). A quarter of the 43% smokers (n=158) smoked more than 15 cigarettes daily. 45% of the smokers (n=71) signed up for a smoking cessation course. However only 17% of these actually completed the course. 95% of the ship cooks completed the healthy food course. CONCLUSION: The conventional intervention methods are difficult to implement directly in the maritime working environment due to mainly structural barriers as well as to the organisation of the work. The project continues until august 2012 and aims to gain new knowledge in terms of best-practice methods to promote and improve the health and well-being of seafarers.
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11th International Symposium on Maritime Health, 2011