A hospital in Manchester has taken the move to ban sugar from its restaurant in an attempt to address worries about workers’ obesity.

Staff will no longer be able to find any sugary snacks or fizzy drinks and all added sugar has been removed from meals.

The decision was taken after a successful trial which saw over 100 workers sign up for a 12 week weight loss scheme. The aim of the scheme was to modify the way in which workers approach their food.

Is obesity a widespread problem? 

According to a government statistical report, nearly 60% of women and almost 70% of men were overweight or obese in 2015. Obesity prevalence rose from 15% in 1993 to 27% in 2015.

Obesity can lead to a variety of different illnesses, which can affect an employee’s productivity, ability to do certain tasks and attendance at work. Employers have increasingly recognised the importance of workers’ health and wellbeing and are beginning to implement appropriate strategies.

Of course, you cannot force your employees to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but you can try and promote good practices at work. Many of your employees may have New Year’s resolutions to lose a few pounds or get into better shape. By this stage of January, some may be struggling to keep them up so you can try and support them in their goals.

For example, you could consider:

  • Encouraging health check ups
  • Providing fitness trackers, such as pedometers
  • Encouraging them to leave their desk at lunchtime and go out for a walk
  • Offering educational seminars or workshops on topics such as nutrition, sustainable diets, health and well-being
  • Offering incentives to cycle or walk to work
  • Offering discounted gym and exercise classes
  • Organising charity or team sports events
  • Restricting less healthy options at the canteen or getting rid of vending machines that only offer sweets, chocolates and crisps.

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