Employer-sponsored programs to promote healthy eating could reach millions of Americans and help to curb obesity, a worsening epidemic that too often leads to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
– Anne N. Thorndike, MD, MPH, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Consider two important facts; (1) most Americans spend about half of their waking hours at work, and (2) in 2018, 31.30 percent of American adults were considered obese. Add in the results of a recent study performed at a large, urban Boston hospital about the eating habits of employees, and it is clear that many individuals need to reconsider their eating habits.
The results of the Boston study found that employees who purchased the least healthy food at the on-site hospital cafeteria were more likely to eat an unhealthy diet at home, be overweight and/or obese and have risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease when compared to those employees who made healthier food purchases at work.
At the end of the study, the researchers suggested that the study’s results could have a positive impact on employees via carefully planned breakroom wellness programs. Employers have the opportunity to positively impact their employees’ health by redesigning refreshment programs, so employees are encouraged to choose healthier options, which are associated with lower rates of obesity, hypertension and prediabetes/diabetes.
Healthy options available in breakroom wellness programs could include:
- lean proteins that keep employees feeling fuller longer and help build muscle mass
- fresh vegetables and fruits that provide healthy vitamins and minerals
- high-fiber foods that also take longer to digest and help the digestive system to function properly
- whole grains that are packed with nutrients and fiber
- small amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that provide essential nutrients
- healthy snacks such as nuts, seeds, fresh fruit or yogurt to enjoy during the day
- hydrating beverages such as plain or flavored water or tea
Offering delicious and healthy options in the breakroom not only encourages employees to stay on-site when they need a bite to eat or something to drink, but healthy options can also positively impact a business’ overall productivity. The reverse is also true. In addition to negatively impacting employees’ health, obesity has been shown to contribute to higher rates of absenteeism, lower productivity levels and increased healthcare expenses for employers.
If you’d like to learn more about offering healthy snacks, beverages or fresh food in your breakroom or would like to share your healthy breakroom menu on Cool Breakrooms, call call 866-699-8363 today!