Adults in the United States spend more than half of their waking hours at work giving employers a unique opportunity to impact the health and wellness of their employees. In a public health climate of a growing health crisis and mounting health care costs, more attention needs to be given to eating healthfully and staying active, especially around a busy work schedule. By offering PCRM’s Food for Life: Employee Wellness Program, employers can lead the way to facilitating an office culture of health and wellness that employees can carry into their lives at home.
Two out of every three adults in the United States is overweight or obese and the direct medical costs associated with obesity totals $147 billion. Faced with the physical and financial toll of our nation’s expanding waistlines, the need for lifestyle changes to improve our health is greater than ever. PCRM’s Food for Life: Kickstart Your Health nutrition and cooking classes step through adopting the optimal diet for maintaining a healthy weight and fighting diet related chronic diseases.
A Physicians Committee study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, American Journal of Health Promotion, Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, and Public Health Nutrition found that companies that offer employees a low-fat plant-based diet in the office can help workers lose weight and improve diabetes.
The 292 employees from 10 Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO) sites across the country were randomly selected to either adopt a low-fat vegan diet with weekly group support or make no diet changes for 18 weeks. The participants at the intervention sites agreed to follow a low-fat vegan diet, which consisted of whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits, with no caloric or serving size restrictions. The cafeterias at intervention GEICO sites added at least one low-fat vegan menu option to every meal, and participants were provided with weekly lunch hour classes held at their work site for the extent of the study. These participants were also instructed not to stray from their normal exercise patterns in order to strictly focus the study on dietary modifications. The individuals at control GEICO sites had no dietary changes, no guidance, and no additional options were served in their workplace cafeterias.
Those who followed a low-fat vegan diet lost an average of 9.5 pounds, significantly decreased total and LDL cholesterol, and, in individuals with diabetes, decreased hemoglobin A1c by an average of 0.7 percentage points.
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