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Healthy Dining

Why Employers Care

Workplace nutrition programs play an integral role in supporting employee health. Since full-time working adults spend about 50% of their waking hours at work, employees are likely to eat at least one or more meals and/or snacks per day in the workplace.1 Healthy eating is a key component in any company's strategy for decreasing obesity. The medical costs for obese patients are approximately 30 percent greater than costs for normal weight individuals.2 Good nutrition lowers the risk for many chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, some cancers and osteoporosis. Promotion of healthy food choices in cafeterias, vending machines, and at business functions, can help to build a supportive environment for healthy eating practices.

Many employers realize that failing to address healthy dining, vending and catering is equivalent to sabotaging the many health improvement and weight management activities they have in place. Good nutrition can help lower risk for many chronic diseases.

What Can Employers Do?

Employers should evaluate their current dining, catering and vending offerings using the assessment tools provided in the Promoting Healthy Weight Through Healthy Dining at Work Toolkit. Employers can also implement corporate health policies to decrease costs and create environments that support healthy behaviors. It is also important to seek a food service vendor that will truly partner on improving the healthfulness of on-site dining and actively promoting these choices. Employers should reduce exposure to unhealthy foods that may contribute to weight gain and consider multi-component strategies that address nutrition, physical activity and behavioral changes.

References (show references)

1 Guide to Nutrition Promotion in the Workplace. Nutrition ResourceCentre, Ontario Public Health Association. June 2002.

2 Withrow D, Alter DA. The economic burden of obesity worldwide: a systematic review of the direct costs of obesity. J OccupObes Rev. 2011 Feb;12(2):131-41.

Page last updated: September 14, 2012

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