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Food At Work: Workplace Solutions for
Malnutrition, Obesity and Chronic Diseases

La alimentación en el trabajo: Una inversión rentable
Montevideo, Uruguay October 24, 2008 by Christopher Wanjek
for the International Labour Organization

Christopher Wanjek, wanjek@post.harvard.edu

Is Food a Luxury?

Hot topics at Korea’s international safety and health meeting… * fumes * fires *noise * protective equipment * ergonomics * food?!

Why was I talking about food? Sound like a luxury, not a necessity.

Just like a chemical spill... Just like protective equipment…
Food At Work is about safety: * low iron means fatigue, poor mental acuity, weakness * low blood sugar means sleepiness, confusion, blurry vision * obesity means lack of dexterity, exceeded weight limit for gearFood At Work is about health: * short-term: food-poisoning from street vendor; site-wide poisonings * long-term: malnutrition, obesity, circulatory disease, cancer Food At Work is about productivity: * morale, absenteeism, sick days… positive return in the peso Food At Work is about social responsibility: * a responsible corporate practice

Causes of Poor Health… Genetic?
 heart disease  stroke cancers  cirrhosis  renal failure  diabetes  obesity  underweight  blood iron anemia

What scientists say: What the news media says:

Genetics or (no) choice?

Main Street, USA

Afghanistan

Genetics or (no) choice?

Proactive Investment
Food At Work is about opportunity -- using the workplace as the point of intervention. Food At Work is about productivity -- healthierworkers are better workers. Food At Work is about solutions -- meal plans that fit a variety of budgets, while meeting your social responsibility.

Workplace Food Concerns
Workers all around the world… * the agricultural worker – exposed to elements, exposed to chemicals * the construction worker – builds the cafeterias, but none for himself * the factory worker – lousy, unhealthy or expensivecafeteria * the office worker – no cafeteria, few options outside * the gas station attendant, the retail-store clerk, the night-shift worker, the fast-food worker... what do they do? * food at meetings

Nutritional Concerns in Uruguay… 2008
INACTIVITY - Uruguay #1 in South America! Over 60% inactive. Go Uruguay! OBESITY - Uruguay #2 in South America! - 60% overweight, including 24% obeseCIRCULATORY DISEASE - leading cause of death, 36% - perhaps highest rate in South America - 34% with high blood pressure; 33% with high cholesterol CANCER - second-leading cause of death, 23% DIABETES - affects 7-8% of population; as high as United States; #5 cause of death IRON ANEMIA: - concern for women and children
source: MINISTERIO DE SALUD PUBLICA

Why does it matter?

Why does it matter?* These percentages are people.

Why does it matter?
* These percentages are people. * These people are your workers.

Why does it matter?
* These percentages are people. * These people are your workers. * These workers are your business. -- How strong is your infrastructure? -- Are you meeting your corporate social responsibility?

Big Picture: Poor Nutrition Isn't Cheap
Obesity inUnited States costs US$99.2 billion annually -- $51.6 billion direct medical costs; billions in lost productivity (39.2 million days of lost work; 239 million restricted-activity days; 89.5 million bed-days; 62.6 million physician visits). -- Obese workers twice as likely to miss work. -- Obesity accounts for 2-7% of total health costs in industrialized countries. Cardiovascular disease costsUS$329.2 billion in the United States -- $199.5 billion in direct costs, $30.9 billion for morbidity, and $98.8 billion for mortality. Diabetes in United States costs US$174 billion annually, nearly as much as all cancers combined. Diabetes top killer in Mexico. -- Uruguay has second-highest per capita health expenditure, US$697. -- Uruguay pays nearly US$1 billion in direct and indirect costs for...
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