Healthy workplace pushed amidst malnutrition in offices

 (Photo by Fauxels/Pexels)

Four out of 10 Filipinos are overweight or obese due to unhealthy eating habits and lack of regular physical activities. This is according to the 2021 Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS) of the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI).

As an individual reaches adulthood, it is more challenging to follow healthy eating habits due to busy schedules and responsibilities in the workplace. According to the report of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017, insufficient food intake and excessive dietary energy requirements remain as the major public problems in the Philippines. The coexistence of undernutrition and overweight or obesity is referred to by the WHO as the “double burden of malnutrition.”

Since employees spend a significant portion of their waking hours at work, modern workplaces frequently contribute to wellness challenges because desk jobs lead to physical inactivity and stress. Likewise, odd working hours can lead to poor sleep and poor dietary choices, and cigarette smoking rates remain dangerously high among adults.

Part of the corporate social responsibility and sustainability of the DOST-FNRI is conducting health promotion initiatives through a wellness program in creating positive changes and improvements in employees’ attitude and behavior.

Despite the stress that working hours may bring, the institute is working towards a workplace as an excellent venue for health promotion. Workplace health promotion and disease prevention programs can improve employees’ health, lower healthcare costs, boost productivity, and generate a positive return on investment (ROI), which benefit both employees and employers. Hence, DOST-FNRI recommends that all government and private offices initiate and sustain a practical workplace wellness program.

Facilitating nutrition education for all employees, a healthy menu for canteens and cafeterias, regular physical and sports activities, periodic health screening and assessment, weight loss activities, smoking and alcohol drinking cessation programs, and stress management are likewise recommended. (Story courtesy of DOST-FNRI)