Are Your Co-Workers Making You Fat at Your Workplace?

Lee Ann Fields, Judd, Cathy S.

Is the tradition at the office to celebrate birthdays with a cake or a big chocolate chip cookie? Maybe you and your coworkers order pizza to share at a working lunch.Is there a vending machine down the hall with chips, cookies, brownies and other high fat snacks?

I am guilty of bringing unhealthy food to the office to share.Motives to share this unhealthy food include trying out a new recipe, testing for flavor, getting compliments, and making co-workers happy, but also to get the temptation out of my house!

According to the Federal government data, Americans are piling on the pounds. The Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics report that the leading food type selected at the workplace include food typically high in solid fat, added sugar, or sodium. Most of our waking hours are spent at the workplace and eating these types of food might be prone to stress eating.

It’s not just the workplace making us fat. In Louisiana 36 percent of our youth and 34 percent of adults are overweight or obese.

The LSU AgCenter has been involved in helping build healthier communities at local schools, local churches, communities and workplaces to help make the healthy choice the easy choice for all Louisianans. The key leaders living in these communities evaluate their assets and together the work groups come up with strategies and activities that promote healthier communities.

Suggestions on ways to create a healthy workplace community might include a lunch and learn speaker during employees’ lunch break.Employees learn from a dietitian, health care or nutrition professional while eating a healthy bag lunch.Increasing nutrition knowledge will increase better food choices. Another healthy workplace tip is to encourage employees to get physical activity during the workday.There are so many exercise DVD’s on the market. This could be a very inexpensive challenge for all at work.I have worked out with friends on my lunch break with a walking video.The good thing about this is you are walking in a cool or warm place and all it requires is a pair of good walking shoes. Another healthy suggestion is to ask when there is an office celebration and ask people to bring healthier alternatives.

One thing for sure, if we implement a few healthier steps in our day, it will help us reduce obesity, prevent and control diabetes, heart disease and strokes.

Programs the LSU AgCenter will share with the community include:

“Let’s Eat for the Health of It” is an eight week program for youth and adults which introduces a healthy eating plan by using My Plate as a guide. Participants will learn about grains, protein, dairy, fruits and vegetables, food safety, physical exercise, and hand-washing. Each lesson has a healthful recipe which is shared to sample. Many of the students report back their parents prepared some of the recipes for them.

“Faithful Families, Thriving Communities” is an eight week program to promote healthy eating and physical activity in communities of faith.“Faithful Families” can be used to measure changes in a faith community’s healthy eating, physical activity, and chronic disease prevention policies, practices and environment. A pastor of a church in north Louisiana implemented this program in his church to help members to learn to eat healthy and to reduce and work on eliminating heart disease, diabetes and strokes in the church congregation. At the completion of this program the pastor reported that changes in food and drinks served at church meals had changed.

“Family Nutrition Night” is a fun experience that involves parents and their children. The plan is when the parents and children hear the information about nutrition and fitness they are on the same page; they reinforce what was heard.Participants take a trip through six interactive stations: “Rethink Your Drink”, “The Low Down on Snacks”, “Start Your Day the Right Way”, “Let’s Get Active”, “Right Size Your Portions” and “Your Health Assessment”.

These are a few of the nutrition programs available through the LSU AgCenter.For tips on ways to make the workplace a healthy place, contact the LSU AgCenter at 318-251-5134 or email

9/3/2019 8:00:23 PM
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