Why eat healthy at work?

Workplaces are becoming increasingly recognised as a focus area for the health and wellbeing of employees. People often spend a large part of their day in the workplace, and so it can greatly impact on employees physical activity, nutrition and work life balance. Healthy eating in the workplace is an important way of ensuring you are getting adequate nutrition by meeting your daily recommended serves of healthy foods.

 

What factors contribute to unhealthy eating habits in the workplace?

 


There are many factors which impact on the food people eat at work. For example - storage, preparation and eating facilities, as well as food outlets in the workplace and offsite, busy work schedules or shift times.

 

Along with this there is evidence that where food is readily available or where there is repeated exposure to it, larger quantities are likely to be consumed [1]. According to this research, if healthy food options are readily available and accessible they would be more frequently selected [2]. Conversely, if unhealthy food choices were not so visible and easily available, people would be less likely to go out of their way (ie offsite) to purchase them. Increasing the availability of healthy food choices in the workplace is an important strategy to include in multi-component workplace health programs.

 

Workplace health programs can also result in numerous potential benefits to employers, including reduced absenteeism, better productivity and better morale. 

 

[1] Wansink, B and van Ittersum, k. 2007. Portion size me: downsizing our consumption norms. J Am Diet Assoc. Jul; 107 (7): 1103-6

[2] Jeffery, R. French, S. Raether, C and Baxter, J. 1994. An environmental intervention to increase fruit and salad purchases in a cafeteria. Preventative Medicine; 23; 788-92.

 
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Need some ideas?



There are a number of organisations that can assist and guide you in establishing a healthy workplace.

 

The Premier's Physical Activity Council website provides a wealth of information about physical activity and aims to increase the level of physical activity of all Tasmanians. Included on this website is the 'Get Moving at Work' kit, a resource for employers wanting to develop a greater health and wellbeing focus at work.

 

Public Health Services (Population Health, Department of Health and Human Services) offers a range of nutrition resources for workplaces, schools, community groups or client groups. There is also a lending library and range of brochures available.

 

Nutrition Australia provides information about healthy eating, food variety, recipes, publications and hosts the national Nutrition Week events.