While you may be grabbing a healthy lunch when you're at work, can you say that you do the same for snacks as well? No, right? We all tend to indulge in unhealthy snacking while we're at work and while we may think that's okay, turns out it's not. A recent study has found that unhealthy food choices at work can actually affect a person's purchase habits outside or work as well. And needless to say, these unhealthy food habits can lead to a number of diseases and conditions like diabetes and obesity.
“Employer-sponsored programs to promote healthy eating could reach millions of Americans and help to curb obesity, a worsening epidemic that too often leads to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer,” said Dr Anne N. Thorndike, the lead investigator of the study. The researchers hope that they can start programs that can help improve long-term health outcomes while reducing costs.
“Workplace wellness programs have the potential to promote lifestyle changes among large populations of employees, yet to date, there have been challenges to developing effective programs. We hope our findings will help to inform the development of accessible, scalable, and affordable interventions,” said one of the lead investigators.
For the study, 602 employees who were a part of the Massachusetts General Hospital were surveyed. Under the “Choose Well, Eat Well” program all the foods and beverages in the hospital were marked with colours indicating their levels of healthiness. So, foods and beverages marked green indicated they were healthy, yellow meant less healthy and red meant unhealthy for consumption.
They also put healthy foods up front to help people make better food choices while unhealthy foods were placed at the back. “Simplified labelling strategies provide an opportunity to educate employees without restricting their freedom of choice. In the future, using purchase data to provide personalised nutritional feedback via email or text messaging is another option to explore to encourage healthy eating,” added the lead researcher.
The researchers then went on to make an analysis of how healthy their participants' choices were based on factors like cash register data; food consumption reports from surveys; and cardio-metabolic test results, diagnoses, and medication information. They found that patients who had the lowest healthy purchases also had the lowest overall dietary quality. This meant that they were at a much higher risk of developing obesity, cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes as compared to participants who had made healthy purchases.
This proved that the more a person made healthy food choices, the better his health would be. So, if you're still going for unhealthy snacks at work, here's a good reason for you to switch those for better, healthier options. Stay tuned for more updates.