Creating a Healthy Worksite Food Environment
Offering better-for-you options in the cafeteria, limiting access to sugary beverages, and establishing healthy food policies are some of the ways that worksites can make it easier for employees to eat well during the work day.
Here is a summary of worksite food environment recommendations for obesity prevention, based on a review of expert guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine, the World Health Organization, and others. For more detailed guidance on these recommendations and ideas for putting them into practice, explore the source list and the links to other resources.
|Create a worksite environment that promotes healthy eating (1,2,3,4,5,6,7)|
|Implement formal worksite policies to promote healthy food and beverages or reduce less–healthy foods and beverages, such as (2,3,7,12)|
|Use marketing strategies to encourage healthier food and beverage choices or discourage unhealthy choices at the workplace
|Promote breastfeeding or pumping, such as by setting up lactation rooms and giving female employees time to breastfeed or pump (3,4,5,13,14)|
1. Carnethon M, Whitsel LP, Franklin BA, et al. Worksite wellness programs for cardiovascular disease prevention: a policy statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2009;120:1725–41.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC Guide to Strategies for Reducing the Consumption of Energy Dense Foods. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2010. Accessed February 2, 2012.
3. Institute of Medicine. Local government actions to prevent childhood obesity. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences Press; 2009.
4. Lee V, Mikkelsen, L, Srikantharajah, J, Cohen, L. Promising Strategies for Creating Healthy Eating and Active Living Environments. Oakland: Prevention Institute; 2008.
5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General; 2010.
6. Wellness Council of America. WELCOA’s 7 Benchmarks of Success: Developing Results–Oriented Wellness Programs One Company At a Time. Absolute Advantage: The Workplace Wellness Magazine. 2006.
7. World Health Organization. The Challenge of Obesity in the WHO European Region and the Strategies for Response: World Health Organization; 2007.
8. National Governors Association. Creating Healthy States: Actions for Governors. 2005. Accessed February 2, 2012.
9. The Obesity Society. The Obesity Society Position on Employer Incentive and Penalties Related to BMI and Weight Loss 2011. Accessed February 2, 2012.
10. World Health Organization WEF. Preventing Noncommunicable Diseases in the Workplace through Diet and Physical Activity: WHO/World Economic Forum Report of a Joint Event; 2008.
11. American Medical Association. National Summit on Obesity: Building a Plan to Reduce Obesity in America. Executive Summary and Key Recommendations.; 2004.
12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC Guide to Strategies for Reducing the Consumption of Sugar–Sweetened Beverages. 2010. Accessed February 2, 2012.
13. Khan LK, Sobush K, Keener D, et al. Recommended community strategies and measurements to prevent obesity in the United States. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2009;58:1–26.
14. Levi J, Vinter S, St. Laurent R, Segal LM. F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America2008: Trust for America’s Health; 2008.
The aim of the Harvard School of Public Health Obesity Prevention Source Web site is to provide timely information about obesity’s global causes, consequences, prevention, and control, for the public, health and public health practitioners, business and community leaders, and policymakers. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site. The Web site’s obesity prevention policy recommendations are based primarily on a review of U.S. expert guidance, unless otherwise indicated; in other countries, different policy approaches may be needed to achieve improvements in food and physical activity environments, so that healthy choices are easy choices, for all.