2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) is targeted at consumers and federal nutrition programs, private companies can benefit from the advice as well. Employers can take advantage of both the tone and content of the new guidelines to better guide and advise employees. It can be difficult to form healthy habits, but with careful nudging, employers can make a significant difference in the overall health of their workers.Although the recently released
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, wellness programs and small incentives can go a long way in pushing employees towards better habits. Here in our office, we just finished up the last of a mouth-watering fruit delivery from The FruitGuys of San Francisco. It can be difficult to eat fruit regularly, especially during the winter time, but having an abundance of fresh fruit in a central location during the workday motivates everyone to choose a healthy snack over a less nutrient-dense option.
Increasing fruit and vegetable intake is a main theme of this year’s dietary guidelines. Some critics have argued that the recently released report doesn’t offer anything revolutionary, but in terms of tangibility of the message, some real changes do appear to have taken place. In years past, “increasing vegetable intake” might have led a consumer to add a piece of lettuce to a burger but now, the guidelines strictly state “your plate should be half vegetables”. This leaves a lot less room for excuses.
The same way the updated guidelines provide clear, concrete action plans, so can companies for their employees. How can workers eat healthfully if they don’t know how? Healthier options drive healthier choices and the office environment can make or break employee wellness. Most importantly, realize that clear-cut, specific action plans like those in the updated DGA are a valuable strategy for promoting healthy behaviors among employees.