Workplace Culture: How to Have Healthier Millennial Employees

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, October 8th, 2015

In workplaces that encouraged healthy lifestyle practices, about 17% of young employees were obese, compared to about 24% percent in spaces that promoted one or no healthy practices, researchers found. How are you promoting a healthy workplace culture?

Lead author Allison Watts, of the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, personally experienced a range of workplace environments that influenced her eating habits and physical activity, both positively and negatively.

healthy workplace cultureThose factors included support for colleagues, lunchtime yoga classes and food availability. She wanted to see if this was true of other young adults.

Researchers used data collected on 1,538 people who answered surveys in middle or high school during 1998 and 1999. Ten years later, they answered more questions. Then the average age of participants was 25 years. Most were white and about half were from high social and economic backgrounds.

Among the factors the participants reported were their typical diets, weekly exercise routines, and specifics about their workplaces. The report shows that less than half ate at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, 27% had at least one sugary drink and 20% ate fast food at least three times per week. Approximately half completed at least 2.5 hours of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week and took active transportation, such as walking or cycling.

Overall, about 19% were obese, but those who reported working in spaces with three or more healthy factors were less likely to be obese than those working at jobs with fewer healthy factors.

“Working young adults are dealing with many stressors such as being pressed for time, juggling personal and work responsibilities, and stretching limited resources,” Watts said. “So, many young adults (will) reach for what is convenient and affordable.”

Workplaces must take these factors into account, she said.

To learn how to create a healthy work environment and workplace culture, visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to talk about customizing this powerful program for your caregivers.

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