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Rise of Global Deaths and Chronic Diseases Leads to Summit on Protecting Global Employee Health
Date:8/7/2008

American Cancer Society Convenes Global Companies, Health Care Professionals, Harvard School of Public Health and World Economic Forum to

Develop New Global Smoke-free and Wellness Programs

BOSTON, Aug. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time, leaders of major multinational companies with U.S. and Boston-based headquarters, including General Motors and Caterpillar, are gathering for an American Cancer Society summit to address the growing demand to protect the health of global employees through smoke-free and wellness programs. Chronic diseases have overtaken infectious diseases as the leading causes of death, and cancer is expected to become the world's leading cause of death in 2010.

During this summit, 26 representatives from leading multinational companies are learning how proven programs in the U.S. can be culturally adapted and applied worldwide to protect employee health and increase productivity. U.S.-based human resource and medical professionals are hearing challenges about employee sickness and lost workdays from their counterparts in countries such as China, Latin America, and India. The American Cancer Society has begun piloting smoke-free and wellness programs in India and China to promote smoking cessation, smoke-free workplaces, physical activity, and better nutrition.

"During this unique and unprecedented collaboration of business and public health leaders, we have witnessed a significant level of interest and a commitment by corporations to proactively lead the charge to help curb deaths and illness from chronic diseases," said Elmer E. Huerta, M.D., M.P.H., president of the American Cancer Society. "Tobacco usage increases the risk of at least 15 types of cancer, and there is no safe way to smoke, nor is there any safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. One-third of all cancers can be prevented through lifestyle behaviors such as tobacco cessation, better nutrition and physical activity."

This three-day summit is being held in conjunction with an American Cancer Society University (ACSU) training that is convening 19 health care professionals from Latin American countries to learn about smoke-free benefits and best practices. Participating countries include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico, among others.

Companies that implement smoke-free worksite policies, offer employee tobacco cessation programs, and promote physical activity and nutrition experience increased productivity, reduced employee absenteeism, reduced sickness in employees, reduced injuries, and increased employee retention. In China, the American Cancer Society is helping to launch a Smokefree Worksite Initiative with a special ceremony at the Olympics this weekend. The American Cancer Society and its partners are educating companies about these benefits and encouraging them to adopt smoke-free policies.

Through its global programs, the American Cancer Society seeks to collaborate with global health care leaders, governments, cancer organizations, companies, and the media to share best practices and build capacity within more than 20 countries to fight cancer. Through its International Tobacco Control Program, the Society has been a leader in advocacy, research, capacity building, and leadership development to prevent cancers caused by tobacco use. It has funded more than 200 grants in 70 countries to strengthen the global fight against cancer. The Society has also been co-host of the Global Smokefree Partnership since 2007.

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering, and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service. Founded in 1913, the Society has local offices in 3,400 communities, involving nearly three million volunteers across the United States and internationally. The Society's international work focuses on capacity building of civil society and on collaborating with other cancer-related organizations to carry out its mission across the globe.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Andrew Becker May Seto

Director, Media Relations Colette Phillips Communications

American Cancer Society Phone: (617) 357-5777 ext. 204

Phone: (212) 237-3899 Email: mseto@cpcglobal.com

Email: andrew.becker@cancer.org


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SOURCE American Cancer Society
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