Healthier food options have gained a foothold in workplaces over the last decade, bolstered by research showing that healthy behaviors are rooted in healthy environments.
We are no exception at Paychex — a leader in the payroll, HR, and benefit outsourcing industry where my team and I drive a well-being strategy to support 14,000 employees nationwide. Nearly 10 years ago, we implemented some of the behavioral economics strategies now commonplace to wellness advocates, steeply subsidizing healthier food options in our cafés and presenting menu items — on our catering menus and in our vending machines as well as our cafés — so that the healthiest choice is the easiest choice.
“When I started this challenge, my two granddaughters were upset — they'd never see me. No more sitting on the couch watching funny cat videos and streaming cartoons. But then I started showing them photos of where I’d hiked — the beautiful flowers, the amazing streams and ravines, the winding paths through tall trees — and the dozens of people and dogs I’d met on the way. And in just a few days, the big screen on the wall and the little screens in their hands didn’t seem so interesting.
Does having a healthy partner increase your odds of being healthy, too? What if your spouse is sedentary, has high blood pressure, and anxiety... does that put you at risk?
The dynamics of health within couples — and how to use it to boost well-being — was addressed in a breakout session at HERO Forum16 in Atlanta by Ashlin Jones, MA, Sr. Informatics Analyst with Healthways, and Andrew Rundle, DrPH, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.
According to Jones, couples co-create health through shared environmental factors, lifestyles, social contagion (spreading of information, ideas, behaviors), and other factors. For example, when one has a history of diabetes, the other has a 26% increased risk of developing this condition (1).
Do your employees, coworkers, and friends think they eat healthy? A lot of people do — and they’re often sorely mistaken. A representative poll of 3000 US adults conducted by NPR and Truven Analytics found 75% rank nutrition habits as good, very good, or excellent. Very perplexing results, considering that study after study shows Americans aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables while getting far too much sugar and not nearly enough fiber — among other poor nutrition habits. Worse yet, many suffer from food-related chronic conditions. What gives?