A healthy diet is important in maintaining good health and can help to reduce the risk of some cancers, coronary heart disease and diabetes.
The economic consequences of unhealthy eating can be severe, they are reflected in costs to employees for absenteeism, reduced productivity and disability.
£16.85billion is the estimated cost of poor eating habits to employers in the each year, which includes cost of loss of productivity due to lack of concentration through skipping breakfast.
Promoting healthy eating is part of promoting health in the workplace, you can make simple changes and put measures in place to encourage healthier eating.
The cost of people being obese and overweight is estimated at up to£7.4 billion per year. Obesity can increase the risk of stroke, diabetes and coronary heart disease (CHD) Only 33% of people eat there 5 a day in NI. (HSNI 2013/2014)
In Northern Ireland there are 67% of males and 56% females overweight or obese. (HSNI2013/2014) More than one in five adults in the UK are classified as obese and this proportion is predicated to rise by
47% for men and 36% for women by 2035.
WHAT CAN AN EMPLOYER DO
- Have healthy affordable eating options in the canteen, vending machines or during meetings.
- Identify healthy options on menus
- Provide literature and posters on the benefits of healthy eating
- Provide educational sessions or practical programme on good healthy eating
- Devise a healthy eating policy
- Have a clean and hygienic kitchen/canteen
- Time available for breaks
- Promote and participate in local healthy eating campaigns
- Provide fresh clean drinking water
- Start up a walking club at lunch and allow extra time for employees to participate in activities.
- Provide a fridge, microwave/cooker and utensils to enable staff to prepare healthy fresh lunches.
BENEFITS OF PROMOTING HEALTHY EATING
Healthy Eating can;
- Reduce the risk of becoming overweight and obese and help maintain and healthy weight
- Promote better sleep
- Elevate mood and self esteem
- Improve attention span
- Reduce the risk of developing diabetes,high blood pressure and some cancers
- Protect against some colds and flu
- Increase energy
- This can lead to improved employee morale, decreased absenteeism, higher productivity and lower health care costs.