Eating well improves your body weight and shape, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, gives you more energy to get through the day and reduces your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and osteoporosis.
Unfortunately obesity is on the rise in Australia. Today’s work and home life, and the environment we live in, promotes over-consumption and easy access to affordable but unhealthy food and drinks.
We are lucky to have easy access to a wide range of foods and an abundance of fresh produce. However most of us need to make wiser choices about what we eat and drink to help protect our health.
Unhealthy food and drinking habits can affect fitness for work as well as productivity, and could potentially lead to long-term chronic disease. They can also contribute to fatigue and dehydration. These risks may be heightened by exposure to other workplace hazards, such as smoking combined with exposure to chemicals, fumes and dusts.
Having a responsible attitude to your nutrition and hydration is an important part of your overall health and wellbeing.
If you choose healthier, more nutritious food and drink options over those that are high in saturated fat, added sugars and salt, you will feel healthier and more energetic, sleep better and probably save money.
Read our Top 10 Tips to maintaining and improving your own health and wellbeing. Notice what you are already doing well, be honest with yourself, and don’t just focus on your weight. For example, if you think you need to cut down your alcohol or sugar intake, write it down as an area for improvement.
Feel good about yourself for making small changes – these can lead to big improvements.
Seek information and support if you need it:
- Eat for health: tips for eating well
- Diabetes Queensland: a shift worker’s guide to nutrition
- Department of Health: a range of eat well resources for workers.
Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) have a responsibility to protect the overall health and wellbeing of their workers. If you identify a nutrition-related hazard in your workplace, you need to eliminate or reduce any related harm, as far as is practicable.
Workplaces can be a good setting for promoting healthy attitudes towards nutrition, especially through education and awareness. You can address healthy eating by implementing a workplace nutrition policy and providing access to and improving availability of healthy food choices at work.
By supporting your workers to make better food and drink choices you can benefit from a healthier and happier workforce, and a safer workplace for everyone.
The most effective work health and wellbeing programs follow the same steps as successful safety programs, so your efforts are best done as part of an integrated approach
Our Simple Steps to Safety guide, with useful templates and checklists, will help you to include work health and safety as part of your business planning. Following these steps can help you create a positive work health, safety and wellbeing culture that contributes to the success of your business.
Use our health and safety checklist to help identify nutrition-related hazards in your workplace and find areas for improvement. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is healthy food and drink an accepted part of the workplace culture?
- Are there facilities for workers to bring healthy food from home and eat it at work, such as cooler bags, a fridge and cutlery?
- Is there a policy for sun protection and safe working in heat that encourages drinking water?
- Is there easy access to healthy food and water at work, and to shops near work?
- Is information available on healthy eating and drinking water to manage fatigue and stay fit for work?
View our Top 10 Tips video, which can be used as a discussion starter or inspiration for toolbox talks and group exercises around sharing the responsibility for maintaining and improving health and wellbeing.
Seek information, advice and support from our free workplace advisory service if you need it.
- SA Health Healthy Workers: Healthy Futures: ideas to support healthy eating at work
- Heart Foundation: information on workplace wellbeing including healthy catering guidelines
- WA Health: healthy vending machine guidelines
- Department of Health: tools for developing healthy eating programs in the workplace
- Safe Work Australia: risk managing heat at work including access to cool drinking water
Focus days or events can be a great motivator to do something positive about improving health and wellbeing, either personally or as a workplace group. Try the following:
- Feb Fast (February): workplace motivation to reduce sugar consumption for a month
- Vichealth H30 Challenge: replacing sweet drinks with water for 30 days
- Nutrition Australia’s Nutrition Week (October): annual healthy eating awareness campaign