Some say that free food is a great way to bring people together, so it’s only natural that employers and HR institute a goodies jar in their office. However, there is a strong argument being made that free chocolate or candy in the workplace may alienate some employees, or derail their attempts at healthy eating and other measures of preventative health care.
For years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has pointed out that Americans struggle with diet and weight issues. For instance, on any given day, one in four men and nearly half of women are on a diet. And as a whole, Americans spend more than 40 billion dollars per year on dieting products and programs, because they all want to feel better about themselves.
Is It Counterproductive to Wellness Programs?
While it seemed like a positive idea at first, having an office candy jar could actually counter the message of employee wellness initiatives you manage at the organization. Think about it – your wellness program communicates that they should eat healthier and take preventative precautions (e.g., getting flu shots, regular physical checkups, stay educated).
In an article from The Wall Street Journal, experts discuss how office candy can dismantle an employee’s desire to live a healthier lifestyle, causing them to rely on food for stress relief or other emotional needs.
“The proximity and visibility of a food can consistently increase an adult’s consumption,” says the study, led by Brian Wansink, a professor of marketing and human behavior at Cornell University, and author of “Mindless Eating.” He adds, “Even for a person with the greatest resolve, every time they look at a candy dish they say, ‘Do I want that Hershey’s Kiss, or don’t I?’ At the 24th time, maybe I’m kind of hungry, and I just got this terrible email, and my boss is complaining—and gradually my resolve is worn down.”
Read the Wall Street Journal article
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