Food Matters at Work

Does your worksite offer “free” food and beverages to employees? If so, is that food providing optimal nutrition, or is it leaving employees “over-nourished?”  A new study found that, on average, almost 1,300 calories a week are acquired from food obtained at the workplace, and over 70% of that food is being provided for free.

This study, which was just released from the Centers for Disease Control (2018), used data from a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey focused on purchases made by more than 5,000 employees from cafeterias or vending machines, as well as the consumption of “free” food available at the worksite.

Results suggest that food purchased by employees has more added sugar and/or unhealthy fats. The foods obtained at the worksite also exhibited a tendency toward higher amounts of sodium and refined grains.

Consider the fact that every 3,500 calories—if unburned—will equate to one pound gained of extra body weight. For example, if you are consuming an additional 1,300 calories per week, in one year you will have gained 19 pounds. Gaining weight is not necessarily a bad thing—however, if you are among the majority of American adults, your health and energy levels will greatly benefit from maintaining or losing weight.

Employers should consider offering healthier food options to their employees by choosing foods that are nutrient-dense instead of calorie-dense. Doing so ensures that your employees are not over-consuming, thereby avoiding weight-related injuries and lessening the presence of chronic health conditions. To find out exactly how to help your employees attain their optimal performance, contact Premier Risk Management for a comprehensive worksite health risk assessment. After all, “Employees who feel good . . . feel good about coming to work!”

// Kim Bentley, M.Ed., NDTR, CHES

Director, Health and Wellness