Corporate wellness insights

New Study: We’re Eating Empty Calories at Work. How Can We Do Better?

Posted by Team WCS on 06.15.2018

The CDC released an new study this week that underscores just how much access U.S. employees have to empty calories at work.

Here’s a quick re-cap of the study:

  • Sample of 5,000+ workers across the United States
  • These employees consumed an average of ~1,300 calories each week that they obtained at work
  • Study focused on food in vending machines and complimentary snack options provided by organizations (70% of the food examined in the study was free)
  • Many of these foods are considered high in solid fats, added sugars, and sodium (think brownies, pizza, candy, etc.)

These statistics are not surprising. Many of us are familiar with the food that comes stocked in office kitchens, gets whipped out at office parties, or made available in the hallway vending machine. And it’s not often a kale salad that gets passed around at 3 p.m. as an afternoon treat.

It’s worth noting that the study has also inspired a lot of discouraging headlines:

But workplaces don’t have to remain the villain in this story. And employees don’t have to settle for feeling shameful about their choices. We shouldn’t be afraid to eat at work, or feel guilty about the options available to us.

It’s because so many employees currently access empty calories at work that organizations have such a huge opportunity to provide healthier alternatives, educate employees about balanced diets, and empower workers to make healthy choices that work for them.

Through initiatives like a champion program, healthy eating challenges, or health coaching, employers can make the workplace a hub for wellbeing.

That’s why we appreciated the perspective of Stephen Onufrak, a co-author of the study who is an epidemiologist at the CDC:

Worksite wellness programs have the potential to reach millions of working Americans and have been shown to be effective at changing health behaviors among employees, reducing employee absenteeism and reducing health care costs.” 

Contact us today to learn more about our top-rated workplace wellness programs.

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Wellness Corporate Solutions (WCS) is a leading provider of biometric screenings, health coaching, and comprehensive wellness programming. Our mission is to spread wellness in the workplace.

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