Dietitians Aim to Make UK Workplaces Health

Dietitians Aim to Make UK Workplaces Health

08 June 2015

At the beginning of Dietitians Week (Monday 8th June), The British Dietetic Association (BDA) announced that the theme of office for its new Chairman, Dr Fiona McCullough, will be workplace health.

Responding to recent policies such as the NHS Five Year Forward View and the NICE public health guidance for the workplace, which recognise that businesses benefit from investing in the wellbeing of their employees, the BDA is conducting a review of published peer-reviewed evidence of workplace health studies in order to present findings on effective nutrition interventions.

The activity around workplace health has been kicked off with BDA public health experts undertaking a review of published evidence of workplace health studies in order to determine how best individuals and employers can optimise health at work. This review will underpin the development of the BDA Work Ready Programme.

The next steps in the programme, will be to publish a full white paper outlining the crucial role that well designed nutrition and activity programmes play in the prevention of long term conditions, driving productivity and the reduction sickness absence with measures such as healthy weight. This will be published by the BDA in July, with additional resources, including a dedicated website which targets the public, employers and health professionals.

The BDA, founded in 1936, is the professional association for dietitians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation’s largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with over 8,000 members. The BDA is also an active trade union.

The interim findings from the BDA Work Ready Programme review concluded:

  1. While, ultimately, individuals are responsible for their own lifestyles, behaviours are largely influenced by the actual workplace, which is why the best wellbeing programmes aim to target change at all levels.
  2. Weight management programmes in the workplace were most effective when used in combination with physical activity advice.
  3. Interventions around eating and lifestyle behaviours, such as fruit and vegetable intake, for cardio vascular disease risk prevention etc. are moderately successful.
  4. Dietitians are most effective at influencing change for individuals via one to one or group sessions; and also change for organisations by advising on food and drink provision and healthy lifestyle behaviours in the workplace.
  5. Effective leadership in the workplace, creating a culture of wellness and good communication are key markers to successful workplace health programmes.

Speaking about the findings of the BDA Work Ready Programme report, BDA Chairman, Dr Fiona McCullough, said:

“One in six working people live with a long term condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, or a disability, but eating and living well can help support these and all workers to build and maintain healthier lives. Later this year, the British Dietetic Association will roll out an accredited programme and framework that will enable dietitians around the UK to work with employers to bring about positive health benefits for their wider workforces.”
“I am extremely happy to fly the flag for workplace health during my time in office as British Dietetic Association Chairman and this interim BDA Work Ready Programme review is an excellent start to the campaign.”

Adding her views, Chair of the BDA Work Ready Programme steering group and dietitian, Alison Clark, added:

“Like it or not, we spend around 60% of our life at work and we consume at least a third of our daily food intake while there.”

“Dietitians are well placed to help support businesses throughout the UK to improve their employees’ health and wellbeing to boost productivity and reduce absenteeism in the workplace.”

“These workplace health interventions could include nutrition workshops, food demos and a number of other services, with a bespoke design to meet the needs of individual work forces.”

For a full copy of the interim BDA Work Ready Programme review (and associated evidence references) and for interview requests, please contact the BDA Press Office (details below).

High resolution images of all those quoted in this media release are available upon request.

ENDS

For more information / interview requests, please contact Steven Jenkins the BDA Press Office on:

0800 048 1714

Notes to the Editor

  • Visit the BDA website at www.bda.uk.com.
  • More information about Dietitians Week can be found at www.DietitiansWeek.com.
  • Dietitians are the only qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. Uniquely, dietitians use the most up to date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.
  • Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be statutorily regulated, and governed by an ethical code, to ensure that they always work to the highest standard. Dietitians work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media, public relations, publishing, non-government organisations and government. Their advice influences food and health policy across the spectrum from government, local communities and individuals.
  • The interim BDA Work Ready Programme has been supported by belVita Breakfast Biscuits.

View All News