There’s a lot of hype surrounding workplace wellness programs, but do they really work? Aiming to boost workers’ wellness through a range of interventions, these programs certainly have a range of advantages. What’s more, research suggests they could help people lose weight. Let’s delve deeper into this issue and take a look at the real facts.
The Problem: Obesity in the UK
Obesity rates among British adults have quadrupled in the last 25 years, according to national statistics. Currently, around a quarter of all adults fall into the medially ‘obese’ category, which means that they have a BMI of more than 30.
Weight gain is a slippery slope. To make matters worse, those who have a BMI of more than 40 are considered ‘severely obese’. Needless to say, carrying an excessive amount of weight could lead to a broad range of health concerns.
Obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and certain types of cancer, according to information from the NHS online resources. However, the impact of weight does not end there. The issue can also impact people on a psychological level. Those who are obese may also struggle with self-esteem, depression and other problems.
Unfortunately, as many of us know, losing weight in a healthy and controlled manner is often easier said than done. While eating well and increasing your activity levels are obvious solutions, the road to weight loss is often a long way and can be frustrating. Tackling the problem in every aspect of your life is the only way to go.
The Solution: Workplace Wellness
The average Brit will work 3,507 days in their life, according to a report from The Independent. That’s a whole load of time. Since work plays such a vital role in people’s lives, it could also be a part of the solution when it comes to weight gain. Indeed, intervention schemes and workplace wellness programs may help to battle this issue head-on.
A two-year research project from the University of Rochester Medical Center suggests that work-based wellness programs really can help people lose weight. The researchers looked at workplaces that encouraged their staff members to engage in physical activities and also provided them with health, accessible food options all year around.
“Worksites are self-contained environments with established communication systems where interventions that modify food options and provide physical activity have the potential to reach large numbers of adults,” said Diana Fernandez, an associate professor at the University of Rochester Department of Public Health Sciences and lead author of the study.
“This study shows in particular that when employees are empowered to help shape wellness programs, these programs appear to result in meaningful improvements in health.”
The Future: Changing the Workplace
Providing a higher level of health and wellness in the UK could start in the workplace. However, the transformation won’t happen overnight. It will take time for employers to embrace the idea of workplace wellness and implement programs that spur on real change and improve people’s lives.
We believe one of the most interesting factors in this movement is the availability of healthy food. At Shed, we’re aiming to spearhead this movement with a little help from our smart vending machines. Each refrigerated machine is stocked with wholesome, plant-first meals, snacks and drinks.
We currently have machines located in prime positions—in NHS hospitals, leisure centres, and workplaces. The aim is to provide people with healthful food options when they’re at work, play or anything in between.