Employees struggle to eat a healthy lunch, survey states

Life & Health

A new survey from the American Heart Association found that people struggle to make healthy lunch choices.

Researchers surveyed over 900 employees nationwide that eat lunch during work.

What they found was over 90 percent were interested in eating a healthy lunch, but struggle to do so.

“Understanding what employees are eating for lunch on a typical workday and what factors influence their choices helps us develop strategies to improve dietary intake with multi-level approaches through food systems, communities, and individuals.”

Anne Thorndike Vice chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee.

The type of day they are having can also impact their lunch choices.

More than 30 percent said they were most likely to eat unhealthy if their day was stressful.

When it comes to nutrition choices throughout the day, over 75 percent make healthy choices if they eat a healthy lunch.

“The finding that healthier food choices at work may impact food choices throughout the rest of the day presents a unique opportunity for the workplace to have a positive influence on not only the employee’s health but also the health of the employee’s family,” Thorndike said.

The survey of U.S. adult employees that eat lunch during work found that:

  • More than 9 in 10 (91%) are interested in improving the healthfulness of their typical workday lunch with employees under 40 more likely to be extremely/very interested compared to employees aged 40+ (65% vs. 55%).
  • More than 4 in 5 (82%) agree that having healthy food options at work is important to them and more than 2 in 3 (68%) value help from their employer in becoming healthier.
  • About 4 in 5 (79%) whose workplace has on-site cafeteria, food service or vending machines get food there at least some of the time.
  • Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) prepare work lunches at home at least some of the time, with women more likely to do so than men (91% vs. 82%).
  • When eating an unhealthy lunch, employees under age 40 are more likely to be impacted at least a little bit by cost (91% vs. 79%) and choices of their peers or coworkers (75% vs. 50%) than employees aged 40+.
  • On a stressful day at work, about 1 in 3 (35%) say their lunch is less healthy than a typical day, with women more likely to say so than men (40% vs 32%).

“Improving the nutrition content and reducing calories of classic favorites and typically indulgent menu items helps. Having more plant-based options to choose from at home and on menus helps. But in the end, people still need to choose to eat healthier food. The good news is most people said they are interested in doing better,” said Thorndike.

Improving healthier choices, The American Heart Association and Aramark collaborates with its Healthy for Life 202 By 20 initiative.

Aramark launched its plant-forward initiative to increase nutrition across menus in colleges and universities, hospital cafes, and workplace locations.

Healthy For Life® 20 By 20 have multiple resources to incorporate nutrition into everyday meals.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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