Nutritious Food at Work May Improve Wellness Outcomes
For many employees, cafeteria meals and vending machines are the main source of food during the work day. Employers that are concerned about employee health need to assess the health and nutrition of the food that is offered at their offices.
A study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that many foods available in the workplace are low in nutritional value and employees who eat this food at least once a week consume an additional 1300 calories. Researchers published a paper in the Moreover, a paper published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that the types of food offered in the average workplace are “typically high in solid fat, added sugars, or sodium.”
These findings are relevant to employers because diet-related health conditions are on the rise and impact healthcare costs, productivity and absenteeism. In 2016, 31 percent of employed adults were found to be obese, which equates to national medical costs of $150 to $200 billion annually. Most obese individuals also experience other health-related concerns such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure. Many of these conditions, which account for about 85 percent of total health care costs, are among the leading causes of preventable death in the US.
As part of your corporate wellness program, attention to what is being served in the cafeteria, sold in vending machines or provided at office meetings is vital to the success of your well-being initiative. Your wellness provider should work with your food services vendor to revamp meal and snack options and provide healthy options on a daily basis. Vending machines, social gatherings, and office meetings should also include fruits, vegetables, and healthful foods.
Wellness Workdays’ registered dietitians (RDs) are highly-trained in all areas of nutrition. Many of our RDs were trained through the Wellness Workdays Dietetic Internship program, which is one of the largest and most innovative dietetics internships in the country. We have helped numerous organizations assess their onsite food offerings and overhaul menus and snack options. We have found that employees are excited to have healthy options at work. Contact us to learn more about our nutrition services.