Section 2: Supportive Environment
Step 1: Build Leadership Support
Leadership accountability and support is crucial to the success of any worksite health promotion program. Effective leadership believes that a healthy, productive workforce is a core component of their business' strategies. One of the first steps in creating a successful worksite initiative focused on nutrition is to establish leadership commitment.
PDF Leading By Example
Website: Eat Well Work Well
PDF Business Case For Good Nutrition
PDF CEO Support
Step 2: Visible Promotion
An easy way to create an environment that supports nutrition is to promote nutrition throughout your worksite. According to the Community Guide to Preventive Services, “Environmental supports include nutrition displays, cafeteria point-of-purchase information, healthful food preparation or choices, and exposure to 5 a Day events. “
Labelling Healthy Options/Point of Decision Prompts Labeling: Employees are more likely to make healthy nutritional choices if they can easily identify the nutritional content of foods. It is important to make the healthy choices visible and to clearly identify the healthy options.
PDF 5 A Day at Work
Step 3: Create Healthy Places
According to the Community Guide to Preventive Services, “Environmental strategies to increase access to fruits and vegetables may include increasing healthful offerings in cafeterias, vending machines, and at meetings. Other environmental changes may include providing breakroom facilities for food preparation and storage (refrigerators).
PDF Creating Places
PDF Healthy Worksite Food
PDF Worksite Wellness Healthy Eating
PDF Vending Machine Inventory Tool
Word Doc: Vending Machine Fax
Website: Healthy Vending Information PDF Energize Your Meetings
PDF Setting Up a Lactation Room
Step 4: Establish Policies
It has long been demonstrated that the physical and social environment of the workplace influences health-related behaviors. Eating is one behavior that is greatly influenced by the workplace. Work is where many people spend the majority of their weekday waking hours. At least one meal is consumed at work, and snacks are often a means to relieve pressure and take breaks throughout the workday. Food available in employee cafeterias, vending machines, and at work-sponsored events frequently determines what people eat throughout the day. Many times, food provided by the workplace is not highly nutritious or is high in fat or sugar; for example, snacks or meeting foods often include foods such as cookies, pastries, and candy, all potential sources of extra fat and calories.
The realities of the work environment can overpower the good intentions of workers to eat healthier. For example, according to a California study, the number of California adults who believe that fruits and vegetables are foods that reduce cancer risks rose from 23 percent in 1989 to 50 percent in 1997, yet only one third of adults reported eating the recommended servings. The study also found that 59 percent of adults surveyed in 1997 cited “hard to get at work” as the most frequent barrier to eating fruits and vegetables.
The majority of programs in the U.S. designed to improve workplace health have focused specifically on changing individual behavior without making much effort to make institutional changes in the work environment. The implementation of policies that require nutritious food options at the workplace establish a healthy workplace environment and demonstrate employer commitment to employee health.
Insert 2.4sample policy on healthy eating (general policy)
PDF Vending Machine Standards
PDF Healthy Vending Machine Policy
PDF Vending Policy Sample 2
PDF Letter to Vendor Template
PDF Vending and Cafeteria Guidelines
PDF Guidelines for Healthy Foods at Meetings
PDF Sample Meeting Nutrition Policy
PDF Sample Healthy Catering Policy
PDF Healthy Caterer Survey
PDF Policy Food Donated by Employees
Breastfeeding Support Policy:
PDF Policy Supporting Breastfeeding Employees
PDF CDC Lactation Support Program
Step 5: Provide strong incentives
Subsidies: According to the American Cancer Society, one incentive employers can provide to employees is discounts or subsidies for healthy choice food items in vending machines and cafeterias.
PDF Options Price Policy
On site gardens or farm to institution: According to the Center for Disease Control website, “Food services at schools, health care facilities, worksites, and restaurants can promote healthier food options for people. Government initiatives and farm-to-institution programs can provide a healthy food environment and offer healthy menu choices.
PDF Produce Delivery
PDF Farmers Market Tool