Healthy Eating at Work
One of the most important factors in employee health is nutrition. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that adequate nourishment can raise productivity levels by 20%. So for employers who rely on the performance level of their employees for the productivity and efficiency of the company, supporting the nutrition of employees makes good sense.
A large proportion of disorders and diseases from which people suffer are preventable. After tobacco, nutrition is the single largest modifiable factor. According to WHO, scientific evidence supports the view that alterations in diet have strong effects on health throughout a person's lifetime. Most important, dietary adjustments not only influence present health, but may determine whether or not a person will develop such diseases as cancer, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes later in life. The employers who take steps to support their employees' healthy nutrition reap benefits now and in the future.
Worksite health promotion studies have quantified the relationship between good health and increased productivity. The good news for employers is that investing in employee health and well-being provides benefits on two fronts: first, with improved employee productivity, and secondly through reductions in healthcare costs. A recent review of the return on investment (ROI) for health promotion programs in the USA found and average ROI of $3.14 per dollar spent.
How can employers encourage healthy nutrition among their employees? Some suggestions include providing:
- Healthy food in cafeterias and vending machines.
- Refrigerators to store and microwaves to heat meals brought from home.
- Water coolers or bottled water.
- Education and guidelines for healthy eating patterns.
- Consultation with a qualified nutritionist.
Tips for healthy Eating at Work:
- Don't skip meals – especially breakfast; you'll be more likely to snack on convenience foods that don't offer any nutritional value.
- Plan ahead and bring a healthy lunch and snacks from home.
- If you feel the need to snack, avoid high calorie or sugary choices, such as candy, chips and soda; they offer no nutrients and with hours you'll be hungry again and looking for another snack. Instead try nuts, fruit, cereals and yogurt.