Monthly Archives: May 2016

What Are the ROI Benefits of Offering Healthy Food Options?

Healthy Food Options Are Crucial to ROI on Wellness Programs.

Are there ROI benefits to your company offering your workforce healthier food options? Absolutely!

Workplace wellness programs have come a long way since their post-WWII introduction. Initially offered only to the executive suite, wellness programs expanded exponentially after Johnson & Johnson showed how their wellness program improved their company’s bottom line in the early 1980s. In the past several decades, more and more companies have implemented wellness programs to reap the benefits that Johnson & Johnson first saw: reduced healthcare costs, increased productivity, better retention, and higher employee satisfaction.

Implemented properly, a corporate wellness program can indeed have positive results. Quantifying those results, however, can be difficult. In fact, proof of return on investment (ROI) has become something of a holy grail for many HR professionals: elusive and possibly mythical evidence that may or may not exist. That’s why many organizations now try to go beyond simple ROI to a more holistic understanding of the full value of their wellness programs.

In most cases, wellness programs bring a host benefits that are less tangible than just reduced healthcare costs. Successful companies cite “a culture of health” or “the employee positivity factor” to identify the way broad-based wellness programs improve their organizations. The Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) released a report in 2015 that showed that business leaders saw the following priorities as influenced by health:

  • Productivity
  • Performance
  • Employee engagement or morale
  • Benefits cost reduction
  • Safety

Most successful wellness programs include a nutrition component. For the best results, the programs need to inform employees to help them make healthier eating choices and also make those healthier eating choices available. USConnect’s Bistro To Go!® kiosks keep fresh foods in stock at all times, prepared with the freshest ingredients at one of our regional culinary centers. Employees are encouraged to make healthier food selections by choosing The Right Choice … for a Healthier Youselections, which have been designated by USConnect’s in-house nutritionist.

 

Healthier Eating – You Are When You Eat.

Check Your Clock Before You Take Your Next Bite.

Food is food, and calories are calories, right? Not so fast! A number of recent studies suggest that when you eat is as important as what you eat.

When it comes to healthier eating, when you eat is as important as where you eat.

A 2012 study tested two groups of mice, both of which were given the same amount of high-fat, high-calorie food. One group could eat around the clock, while the other could only eat for 16 hours a day. Even though both groups consumed the exact same amount of the exact same foods, the group that fasted for eight hours were almost 40 percent leaner than the around-the-clock eaters.

The 24-hour eaters also developed high cholesterol and blood sugar, liver problems, and other metabolic diseases associated with obesity. A 2015 follow-up study showed that mice on an even longer time-restricted diet—being allowed to eat for only nine to twelve hours per day—had even better results.

Of course, what works for mice might not work for humans, so researchers have been performing studies to determine if these results can help people make healthier eating choices. Early signs look good not just for correlation, but for causation as well; specifically, human circadian rhythms have evolved to help us do a better job of processing calories and fat earlier in the day, rather than later.

A 2013 study in Spain found that people who ate a large lunch later in the day lost less weight and lost it more slowly  than people who ate a large lunch earlier in the day. Other studies have tied nighttime fasting to improved glycemic regulation: that is, a person’s ability to regulate blood-sugar levels.

A 2015 study tied nightly fasting to a lower risk of breast cancer, and a 2016 study at Harvard Medical School found that shift workers who often have to invert their schedules and eat at night and fast during the day had a lowered glucose tolerance.

So what does this mean for you? To start, cut out the midnight snacks and late-night dinners. Whenever possible, eat your biggest meals before 3:00 pm and then begin to taper down. In order to lose significant weight, the calculus of “calories in” versus “calories out” still applies, but aligning your diet with your circadian rhythms will help you work with your body instead of against it.