Great Job: Healthy Workplaces

By Lambeth Hochwald, Joyce Hendley, M.S., Sylvia Geiger, M.S., R.D., "Great Job," May/June 2007

Eating well at work has never been so easy or delicious, thanks to innovative employers like these.

When it comes to work’s impact on healthy living, the associations tend to be negative: 60-hour workweeks that translate into 10-pound weight gains. End-of-day meetings that overtake your exercise hour and drain the energy you needed to make dinner. Team projects that push through lunch, leaving you with no other option at 3 p.m. than to scavenge snacks from the vending machine.

But times are changing. Increasingly, employers are encouraging and rewarding healthy behaviors. Research shows that nearly 60 percent of all U.S. companies and 95 percent of larger companies offer some incentive to encourage employees to lead healthier lifestyles, says Jacqlynne Hart, president of HealthWealth, Inc., a wellness consulting company in Austin, Texas. Financially, it makes sense: annually, obesity costs American businesses $13 billion (in health insurance, sick leave, etc.), and for every dollar a company invests into wellness programs, it saves an average of $3.14, according to one study.

How are employers—all kinds, sizes, in various settings—helping their staffers to eat and live well? We wanted to know. To that end, we polled workplace-wellness experts, consulted our nutrition advisors and invited corporations to brag about their “delicious” benefits. We also asked you, our readers, to tell us about your own on-the-job environments. What we found: at worksites nationwide, there’s a healthy-eating revolution under way. We hope that these stories of creative solutions and great ideas will inspire you to initiate positive change in your own work world.

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