The importance of Workplace Nutrition Education
It is accepted that the surrounding environments in which individuals live and work influences their health behaviors and that modifying these environments at both macro and micro levels is an important catalyst for behavior change.
The workplace has been recognized by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a priority environment to influence dietary behaviors given that individuals can spend up to two-thirds of their waking hours at work. WHO’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) 2013–2020 is focused on reaching specific targets to achieve a global goal of a halt in the increase of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Aside from smoking and physical activity, diet is a major contributor to the development of these diseases.
- An Irish study in 2016 showed that a combination of nutrition education and environmental dietary modifications decreased their BMI, by improving their dietary intake.
- A 2016 ESRI study found that the two largest categories of work-related illness reported by workers were musculoskeletal disorders and stress, anxiety and depression.
- Research by the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (Ibec) last year showed that six out of 10 employees were more likely to stay long-term with an employer that showed concern for them, while almost half of the 1,000 employees surveyed said they would leave a job where an employer did not care about their well-being.
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- WHO 2013. 2013-2020 Global Action Plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases. [online] Available at: <www.who.int>
- ESRI 2019. New report identifies factors associated with the risks of work-related illnesses | ESRI. [online] Available at: <https://www.esri.ie/news/work-related-illness>
- IBEC 2016. HR Update Survey 2016. [online] Available at: <https://www.ibec.ie/IBEC/DFB.nsf/vPages/Research_and_surveys~Employer_issues~hr-update-2016-autumn-01-11-2016/$file/HR+Update+October+2016.pdf>
- Geaney, F., Kelly, C., Di Marrazzo, J.S., Harrington, J.M., Fitzgerald, A.P., Greiner, B.A. and Perry, I.J., 2016. The effect of complex workplace dietary interventions on employees’ dietary intakes, nutrition knowledge and health status: a cluster controlled trial. Preventive Medicine, [online] 89, pp.76–83. Available at: <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743516300822>