At WHO's Western Pacific office, 'sitting is the new smoking'

A sign encouraging WHO staff members at the Western Pacific office in Manila, Philippines, to use the stairs instead of the elevator. The regional office has launched a number of internal health and fitness initiatives since January 2016 in the hopes of getting staff to live a healthy lifestyle. Photo by: Jenny Lei Ravelo / Devex

Meetings are frequent and can stretch for hours at the World Health Organization’s regional office in Manila. A perk? Staff are often served snacks or meals to keep everyone focused and energized. Until just a few months ago, it was usually pizza loaded with cheese and washed down with sugary beverages. Sausage wrapped in bacon was another favorite, according to Katrin Engelhardt, technical lead for nutrition at the Western Pacific office’s NCD and health through the life course division.

But things at the office — mainly cheesy, fatty, sugary things — are changing.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.