Is it important to offer nutrition and healthy lifestyle classes at work?
A study published in the journal Population Health Management showed that unhealthy eating was linked to a 66 percent increased risk of low productivity, while those who exercised rarely showed a 50 percent increased risk of low productivity. (Huffington Post).
Another study in the Journal of Vision from Brigham and Women’s Hospital showed the more sleep deprived the person, the worse his or her quality of work becomes.
We can plainly see how the above a factors lead to unhappy and less productive employees, we need to find the best solutions to support a shift in thinking and behavior.
Where do I begin?
Let’s start with a healthy diet. The definition of a healthy way of eating may be different for many people. For some, it’s a fad diet like low fat/high carb, high fat/ low carb, caveman diets or so called ‘nutrition’ shake diets. Most fad diets are extreme and often lead to yo-yo dieting and no lasting change.
When offering nutrition education to employees, please consider the source of your information. Ask yourself, does the latest research support this method? Is this eating plan sustainable? Will it create lasting change in behavior?
Since there is a link between diet, exercise, sleep, and employee productivity, why not create a culture of health and wellness at work?
What are some things that companies can do to promote a health conscious climate?
- Provide Healthy food choices at lunch or morning meetings, such as fresh fruits, yogurt and nuts, healthy salads, and grilled chicken. Avoid the empty calories of muffins, donuts and bagels for morning meetings and creamy sauces, cold cuts and sweet desserts.
- Encourage a culture of workplace fitness. Is there a place for employees to exercise before or after work or during lunch break?
- How about creating a workplace challenge that encourages employees to get their steps in every day?
- New desk adapters that can be used either sitting or allow workers to stand
- Team challenges that promote healthy diet and exercise create an atmosphere of fun , and a special prize is really great incentive
- Employee softball or bowling teams encourage comradery and exercise
- Stress management techniques that help teach employees to unwind and get a good night sleep
- Incentives for employees at risk for chronic disease to attend Wellness at Work Classes
- It starts at the top! Offer individual one on one wellness sessions for busy executives so they can lead by example
- Provide on-going support for employees through personal or group sessions
The road to making lasting changes can take time and effort. Creating a healthy atmosphere throughout the organization can make the path smoother.