SEAT, IRSICAIXA, HOSPITAL CLÍNIC, HARVARD UNIVERSITY AND ITAE PRESENT THEIR FIRST JOINT SCIENTIFIC STUDY
/ SEAT and IrsiCaixa present a ground-breaking retrospective analysis with medical data of the past 20 years and a sample of 30,000 employees that can be extrapolated to society as a whole
/ Both organisations, together with the Hospital Clínic, ITAE and scientists from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, have initiated MedCARS, their first world pioneer joint study
The SEAT Healthy Company Scientific Committee (SHCSC) is presenting MedCARS, its first study on nutrition and healthy living. For the first time ever, four entities including, the likes of SEAT, IrsiCaixa, Barcelona’s Hospital Clinic, ITAE and scientists from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, have joined forces to conduct a pioneering scientific study.
Leading scientific and medical experts such as Dr. Patricia Such, Dr. Bonaventura Clotet, Dr. Ramon Estruch and Dr. Mercedes Sotos-Prieto have presented today in Barcelona the results of a retrospective study spanning the past 20 years with a universal sampling of 30,000 employees.
On the basis of this retrospective study, the members of the SHCSC have also announced the implementation of what will be the first joint study on nutrition and healthy living.
According to SEAT Vice-president for Human Resources and President of the SEAT Healthy Company Scientific Committee Xavier Ros, “it is a true honour for SEAT to lead this project. We are fully committed to the health of our employees and in recent years we have made significant advances, such as the construction of CARS and the creation of the Scientific Committee”. In addition, Ros acknowledged “the global experts for accompanying us in this endeavour.”
Pioneering retrospective study in Spain
The SEAT medical services have access to the medical background of the company’s employees going back 20 years. This sample of approximately 30,000 people can therefore be extrapolated to the general population both in Spain and Europe, as the volume of information amounts to nearly 10 million health data.
IrsiCaixa and SEAT have analysed this stockpile and the results in areas such as smoking, excess weight, treated high blood pressure, hyperglycaemia, cholesterol, triglycerides, alcohol consumption or the practice of sports, among others, have led to the conclusion that the health of the employees is much better today than it was 20 years ago.
Although the levels compared with 1998 have improved in nearly every aspect, some statistics still give cause for concern such as the fact that 4 out of 10 people are currently overweight; that 28% of the population still smokes and only 48% of the population regularly participate in sport.
Dr. Patricia Such, head of Health and Safety at SEAT, underlined that “our collection of clinical background at SEAT is real Big Data. Having such a vast sample has enabled us to draw some very interesting conclusions, especially to come up with solutions that respond to the needs of our employees and the general public.”
She also pointed out that “SEAT is proud to be working with medical and scientific institutions such as the Hospital Clínic, IrsiCaixa, ITAE and scientists from Harvard University.”
MedCARS, first joint study
The results of the retrospective study have been used as a basis for launching MedCARS, the first study on nutrition and healthy living jointly conducted by the above institutions.
The study is going to compare 600 volunteer employees, separated into two groups, who have received a complete medical check-up and whose eating habits have been analysed. One of the groups will be given guidelines on how to improve their lifestyle, and the health of both groups will be compared six months later to draw conclusions on the positive effects of the group that has followed the procedures. These characteristics make it a world pioneer study.
In addition, even though the study is being conducted on 600 people, 2,000 employees will benefit indirectly as they will subsequently receive additional medical support. With an increased focus on a balanced diet, all employees will have access to a new range of lunch options and vending machines will be upgraded with healthy snacks.
Dr. Ramon Estruch, Internal Medicine consultant at the Hospital Clinic, head of the IDIBAPS team of research into cardiovascular risk, nutrition and aging, and CIBEROBN researcher from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, said that “MedCARS builds on the methodology and criteria of the Predimed study, which has proven that the Mediterranean diet has an impact on reducing mortality and the major chronic diseases.”
The measures also include urine, blood and stool samples; advice on nutrition, healthy recipes, lifestyle and sport; a monthly delivery of five litres of olive oil and nuts, thanks to the collaboration with Borges; a healthy sandwich at work; a healthy choice in vending machines; discounts at supermarkets, thanks to the agreement with Veritas; cooking workshops hosted by Michelin starred chefs as well as diet and psychological assistance in the form of seminars with the collaboration of the ITAE centre.
In the same vein, Dr. Bonaventura Clotet, honorary member of the SEAT Scientific committee, director of the IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute and head of the Infectious Disease unit at the University Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, ensures that “in the MedCARS study we are going to analyse the intestinal flora of the employees before and after the procedure to gain insights into how the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle influence the proper functioning of all bacteria that live in the intestine.”
Moreover, Dr. Mercedes Sotos-Prieto, a doctor in nutrition and visiting scientist from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, underlined that “the study will allow us to prospectively analyse the health habits of the employees and the effectiveness of certain health promotion measures.”
SEAT holds its ‘Healthy week’ and celebrates CARS first anniversary
The presentation of this study coincides with the celebration of SEAT’s “Healthy Week”.
Activities have been scheduled in SEAT’s Martorell factory from 23 to 27 April, including healthy eating workshops, sleep, relaxation, first aid, road safety and blood donation, among other initiatives, to raise awareness among SEAT’s close to 14,700 employees.
A round table discussion will also take place on 25 April entitled “Business and research in the interest of health and well-being”, with the members of the Scientific Committee and the ITAE Psychiatry and Psychology Centre director Josep Pla.
Furthermore, CARS (Health Care and Rehabilitation Centre) has completed its first year of operation. In this time, 45,000 procedures have been performed by SEAT professionals in several areas of specialisation ranging from gynaecology and orthopaedics to ergonomics, psychology, rehabilitation, fitness and exercise.
SEAT is the only company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona), exporting 80% of its vehicles, and is present in over 80 countries. In 2017, SEAT obtained an after tax profit of 281 million euros and achieved worldwide sales of nearly 470,000 vehicles.
The SEAT Group employs close to 14,700 professionals and has three production centres – Barcelona, El Prat de Llobregat and Martorell, where it manufactures the highly successful Ibiza, Leon and Arona. Additionally, the company produces the Ateca and the Toledo in the Czech Republic, the Alhambra in Portugal and the Mii in Slovakia.
The multinational has a Technical Centre, which operates as a knowledge hub that brings together 1,000 engineers who are focussed on developing innovation for Spain’s largest industrial investor in R&D. SEAT already features the latest connectivity technology in its vehicle range and is currently engaged in the company’s global digitalisation process to promote the mobility of the future.