March is known in Canada as Nutrition Month and organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Dietitians.ca are busy dialling up their annual campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of making informed food choices.
As employers look for new or different ways to improve engagement, workplace culture and productivity, it might be easy to overlook what employees are actually eating and how their daily food choices affect creativity, focus, energy levels, mood and overall well-being.
Nutrition contributes to a productive workday. In a journal shared on the site, Perspectives in Public Health, it was found that productivity increases by at least 2 percent when workers make healthier food choices and develop sound eating habits.
Employers looking to launch a worksite nutrition campaign can access free resources, videos, print-ready fact sheets, and presentations from the Dieticians.ca website.
Whether it be a lunchtime presentation or quick facts on a TV monitor or Intranet site, employers don't need to invest in expensive wellness campaigns in order to inform and educate. Positive messages reminding employees that making a few small changes or even one change a day will result in positive outcomes.
These tips can be as simple and reinforcing the importance of:
Create a nutritition savvy workplace.
Small changes in food choices can add up over time. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1/3 of North Americans are obese. The results of these finding show that there are growing incidents of diabetes and heart disease putting increased pressure on public health and private payers.
In an article published on the British Journal of Health Psychology website, the relationship between food and how it affects a person's daily experiences and mood is explored. Poor dietary habits are linked to fatigue, decreased mental effectiveness and ability to perform one's job effectively. Poor nutrition causes irritability, lower energy levels coupled with higher levels of stress and depression.
When the brain isn't nourished.
As employers are looking to understand why extended health costs are increasingly related to mental health issues as well as higher rates of disability, a closer examination of the connection to dietary decisions may be warranted. Eating processed foods not only results in mild irritability, but over time, the risk of depression and anxiety increases. Healthy food choices help to nourish the brain and fuel creativity and productivity.
In essence, every forkful of food not only affects how a person's body functions, but how the mind functions as well. Making healthy food choices can improve the ability to concentrate and solve problems more effectively.
Beyond helping employees manage time effectively and wrestle down growing project lists and unread email, the importance of nutrition and its connection to worker productivity and well-being shouldn't be overlooked. Contact us to learn more about our approach to healthcare analytics and how they can help you more effectively manage the cost of your benefits program and ensure you're getting the right results. We're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
Dave Dickinson, B.Comm, CFP, CLU, CHFC
Experienced Benefits Specialist ready to optimize your group benefits and pension plans.