Why Nutrition Education is Important in the Workplace

The numbers do not lie. Health insurance companies know that workplace nutrition education nets fewer expenditures per member. When members are healthier overall, they make fewer trips to the doctor and fewer visits to the ER. That’s why you may have noticed a new push for enrollment in health monitoring programs from your medical insurance provider. Small investments pay off big, saving everyone money. 

But let’s not be cynical. There are real people behind those cost savings. If you’re lucky, they show up at work motivated to support each other in an overall mission towards excellence. If you’re really lucky, they have the physical and mental energy to do that. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthier people are more productive. They take less time off from work due to the good function of their bodies and minds. That can extend to their homes, where their families are healthier, too. 

Empowering Communities

The first benefit of education is an educated audience. Though most of us learned about the five major food groups and the food pyramid at some point during grade school, nutrition is much more than that. Simple pointers can elaborate and guide humans who may have few if any, other touchpoints with nutritional guidance. Rather than hope your team catches the latest headlines on the links between processed foods and depression, you can proactively lead the way. This type of awareness can influence the greater community as work teams model good food choices at home and in their neighborhoods, leading to an overall healthier world. 

Better Mental Health

Studies prove it. Better nutrition has a direct tie with mental health. As Gen Z continues to emphasize the need for mental health support, we owe it to them and to everyone else to encourage and facilitate optimal well-being. Not only are better nutritional choices tied to creativity, curiosity, and feelings of well-being, but they are sometimes achieved with something as simple as greater consumption of fruits and vegetables each day. 

Better Attendance 

Let’s face it. Even a routine dental check in the middle of the day can eat up an entire afternoon. How much more so will people need to take time off for more difficult doctor’s appointments? A good workplace nutritional education program can equal fewer days off from work to handle visits to the doctor and ER. The principle carries over from school attendance to work attendance, where disease and other chronic illnesses will reduce headcounts due to those who fall victim to painful and often preventable sicknesses. 

Improved Productivity

There’s a reason your mother always made sure you ate breakfast. Better focus and concentration are often tied to a good nutritional foundation. You don’t have to be an Ivy Leaguer to understand why some foods are known as brain fuel, and others leave us sluggish and groggy.  

Improved Job Satisfaction

Employees who feel cared for by their employer feel like they belong to a group, and a sense of belonging can foster great performance. Employees who feel like part of a cohesive team can be motivated to contribute to it meaningfully, even beyond their job duties. Showing your team sincere care in the form of concrete steps taken to support their holistic well-being can create a better workplace life. These subjective emotional perceptions are far from unimportant. As it turns out, the “I’m just here to work” attitude may work better when people feel a type of familial protection and acceptance on the job. 

Reduction in Major Health Problems

Cardiovascular disease is behind one of every three deaths, according to the CDC. Prevention through control of cholesterol levels and high blood pressure can stem that tide. Consider how even the late great vocalist and songwriter Tina Turner went most of her life not realizing the impact high blood pressure could have, and you get closer to the truth: Many people are unaware of cardiovascular risk factors, much less how to control them. Nutrition is not the only answer to cardiovascular health issues, but it is a powerful and important tool in the fight. 

With workplace education, your team becomes conscious of their habits and bodies. Equipped with this knowledge, they also make better nutrition decisions, leading to a reduction in major health problems. They can also show an ability to better control their weight and reduce their risk for diabetes. 

Randomized field trials and other research provide positive feedback on workplace nutritional education, but how should you go about the task? Biofunctional Health knows which behaviors your educational program should target to make the biggest impact on nutritional health in the workplace. Our team is skilled in both effective design and implementation. The investment could be minimal, but the benefits could be beyond measure.