To mitigate the obesity epidemic, increase workplace productivity and reduce absences, employers across the United States are engaging in employee-wide wellness programs.
Some employers offer healthy food options and free meals to employees to encourage them to stay at work after hours, while others hire experts—or “dietary interventionists”—to ensure employees aren’t over indulging in food at work.
Insurance company GEICO partnered with a nonprofit to show that weight loss can lower blood pressure and reduce work absences if the company provides healthy, low-fat vegetarian alternatives. In a 22-week study, participants at GEICO were offered a low-fat, plant-based diet and also received cooking demonstrations and educational lessons to impact their cooking habits at home. The participants lost an average of 11 pounds and missed fewer hours of work.
In a subsequent study, 300 GEICO employees participated in a diet high in vegetables, fruit, fiber, legumes for protein and whole grains. Like the previous study, they went to weekly support meetings and took cooking classes. The participants lost an average of 10 pounds, lowered LDL cholesterol by an average of 13 points and were able to improve their blood sugar.
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