High intake of low nutrient and energy-dense foods (e.g., those with excess sugar, starch and fat) is a leading cause of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.1 Yet, only 17% of Alberta’s workers consumed the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables.4
What and how much people eat is heavily influenced by what is available and happening around them2. Given the number of meals consumed at work, workplaces can have a positive or negative impact on their employees eating patterns.
Alberta workers are pressed for time. Almost half who eat out do so because they have no time to cook.3 Workplaces can help improve employee dietary habits by creating physical spaces that support healthy eating and increase access to healthy options.2 Supporting healthy eating in the workplace contributes to an overall healthier workplace, increases employee job satisfaction and productivity and reduces absenteeism.6
While encouraging and educating employees on healthy food and beverage choices is important, individual behavior change can only be sustainable when it occurs in an environment which support healthy eating.2 In addition to educating employees on healthy eating practices, creating physical spaces to support healthy eating and increasing access to healthy options, workplaces can improve employee dietary habits.2 This approach contributes to an overall healthier workplace, increases employee job satisfaction and productivity and reduces absenteeism.6
- World Health Organization. Healthy diet. Geneva (SW): WHO; 2015. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs394/en/.
- Story M, Kaphingst KM, Robinson-O'Brien R, Glanz, K. Creating healthy food and eating environments: policy and environmental approaches. Annu. Rev. Public Health, 2008;29:253-72. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18031223.
- Statistics Canada. General Social Survey 2016: Canadians at Work and Home. Ottawa (ON): Statistics Canada; 2016. Accessed on August 2, 2018.
- Statistics Canada. Canadian Community Health Survey 2013-2014. Ottawa (ON): Statistics Canada; 2014. Accessed on August 2, 2018.
- He FJ, Nowson CA, Lucas M, MacGregor GA. Increased consumption of fruit and vegetables is related to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: meta-analysis of cohort studies. J Hum Hypertens 2007; 21(9): 717-28.
- World Health Organization (WHO). Workplace health promotion. Geneva (SW): WHO; n.d. Available from: http://www.who.int/occupational_health/topics/workplace/en/index1.html.