Employee health conditions related to poor nutritional choices result in an estimated $9 billion in productivity losses each year. We have known for many years that diet plays a key role as a risk factor for chronic diseases. And projections indicate that by 2020, chronic diseases will account for almost three-quarters of all deaths worldwide.1 Proper nutrition is instrumental in the prevention and also the reversal of chronic disease.
Unhealthy eating habits develop over time and can be difficult to change. Many people want to make better nutrition choices but lack the knowledge and motivation to do so successfully. Employers can help transform employees’ lives by creating a workplace culture that promotes better nutrition and healthier eating. UPMC WorkPartners’ MyHealth nutrition programs educate employees about the benefits of good nutrition, helping them make smarter choices that lead to healthier lives. Our programs and services include:
MyHealth Eating WellTM. This series of health coaching sessions encourages employees to develop healthier eating habits. Topics covered include food labels, basic nutrients, and guidelines for making healthier food choices.
Dining SmartTM. Nutrition consultation services for workplace food service operations to promote and support healthy food options for employees. High-quality nutrition education and promotional materials build and support a culture of healthy eating.
Coach on CallTM. Health coaches available by phone for nutrition tips and guidance.
Self-directed programs. Online or workbook-based nutrition programs with health coach telephone support.
Employees at high risk due to elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, or pre-diabetes may benefit from workplace nutrition programs. MyHealth offers a wide range of nutrition initiatives — from worksite presentations and dining area education to personal health coaching and registered dietitian consulting.
We have found that employees make healthier decisions when they have the opportunity and information to do so. MyHealth nutrition programs encourage employees to embrace a healthier lifestyle and make smarter nutrition choices. Our programs reach employees where food decisions are made in the workplace — company cafeterias, catered worksite meetings, and vending machines. In a recent survey, we discovered that 30 days after completing the UPMC MyHealth Eating Well program, over 97% of respondents agree that they gained useful skills in making healthier eating choices:
- 44% increased their awareness and use of nutrition facts labels.
- 36.9% increased the number of meals or snacks with vegetables.
- 40.8% increased the number of meals or snacks with fruit.
- 25.5% decreased their salt consumption or eating meals or snacks with salty foods.
- 21.4% decreased their consumption of beverages with empty calories.
MyHealth Eating Well Worked for These Members
When a health coach received a call from a member who had recently completed the MyHealth Eating Well Program, he was thrilled — but not at all surprised. The member reported that his cholesterol level had dropped 30 units! Using the strategies he learned through the MyHealth Eating Well program, he became much more aware of the nutritional value of the foods he chose. He began to read food labels and make healthier nutrition choices, such as adding more fish to his diet, eating less red meat, choosing whole grains, and consuming more fruit instead of his usual snacks. He was happy to tell his health coach that his health improved, he feels better, and he has even lost some weight!
A 42-year-old female with a complicated health history reached out to health coach Claire Marshall. Claire enrolled the member in the MyHealth Eating Well program. Through the program, this mother of two was able to make better food choices to improve her overall nutrition and help manage her diabetes. Her A1C decreased from 13 to 6.07. She also helped influence her family’s habits and decrease their intake of processed foods, as well as high-fat, high-sugar foods.