Healthy Eating in the Workplace Partnership East Gippsland

Chelsea Arceri1
Gippsland Lakes Complete Health1

ABSTRACT

Background or Problem/ Issue:

54% of East Gippsland are overweight or obese, 19% are consuming sugary drinks each day and 48% are not meeting their recommended serves of fruit and vegetables. Transforming workplaces into supportive environments via healthy eating interventions are understood to be an effective means of improving the health of employees and their families. They are known to positive influence body weight, reduce intake of food and drink high in fat and sugar as well as increase intake of fruits and vegetables. The “Healthy Eating Workplace Partnership” (HEWP) is a place-based approach to increasing healthy eating practice within workplace settings.

Method or What you did?

We collaborated with 7 large organisations, with a total of 840 employees within East Gippsland to form the HEWP. Via a representative from each organisation we assessed the food and drink culture of each workplace in comparison to the Healthy Eating Advisory’s Healthy Choices Guidelines for Workplaces. Key priority areas were identified to tailor outcomes to support the individual needs of the organisations to achieve a healthy food and drink environment. This was accomplished via the ‘Eat Well in the Workplace Guide’, Healthy Snack Box Workshops, and collaboration with local caterers.

Results or Outcomes:

The Key Priority Areas identified were; Healthy Catering – (External and Internal), Healthy Fundraising, Visual Guides and Posters and Educate Staff on Healthy Eating

The “Eat Well in the Workplace Guide” was developed to address the KPA’s and build capacity in workplaces to establish healthy food and drink culture. The guide includes resources such as ‘Healthy Fundraising Ideas’, ‘DIY Healthy Morning Teas’, ‘Healthy Food and Drink Policy Template’ and more.

The guide also contains 15 healthy corporate catering menus from across the region. Caterers from Bairnsdale, to Mallacoota were individually contacted and assisted to develop corporate catering menus which complied with the Healthy Choices Guidelines.

Additionally, Healthy Snack Box workshops were held at two of the HEWP organisations. These dietitian-led workshops aimed to educate staff about the importance of healthy snacking and provided examples of healthy snack options.

Conclusions or Practice Implications:

The project has made great steps towards achieving autonomy between East Gippsland’s workplace food and drink culture and the Victorian Governments’ Healthy Eating Advisory Service’s ‘Healthy Choices Guidelines for Workplaces’. By directly educating over 840 employees, we have potentially influenced the food and drink choices of over 3,300 residents of East Gippsland. Further, the ‘Eat Well in the Workplace’ guide is now available for all organisations across East Gippsland, expanding our reach and impact exponentially.


BIOGRAPHY:

Chelsea Arceri is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Health Promotion Officer at Gippsland Lakes Complete Health. She believes strongly in the social model of health and enjoys tackling complex health issues both in the clinic and via up-stream, preventative approaches.

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