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Poor diet is a significant contributor to Scotland’s poor health record.
This section gives information on how Healthy Working Lives aims to help employers improve the nation's eating habits.
Scotland’s ill health remains a matter of serious concern as poor diet makes a significant contribution to Scotland’s poor health record.
Good nutrition can help to reduce the prevalence of many common diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and dental caries.
These illnesses also put a huge burden on NHS healthcare services.
The case for improving the Scottish diet is well made. Both Towards a Healthier Scotland (external site) and Improving Health in Scotland – The Challenge (external site) identify the need for a continued focus on improving access to and consumption of local (where possible) healthier food choices.
Most recently, Eating for Health – Meeting the Challenge (external site) reiterated the need to continue to focus on healthy eating as part of the move to achieve a more rapid rate of health improvement. Improving nutrition will have an impact on obesity and health, and also help Scotland achieve oral health improvement targets.
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Adults can spend up to 60% of their waking hours in a work environment, and may eat one or more meals and snacks at work.
Work provides an opportunity to positively influence eating habits by increasing the accessibility of healthy foods in work canteens, and also by increasing awareness of healthy eating and its role in determining health.
This, in turn, can translate into the family environment and can potentially have further reaching effects for other family members.
Healthy Working Lives seeks to achieve a healthier workforce by looking at factors in the workplace which encourage healthy eating through education campaigns, access to healthier foods, and policies which promote healthy choices.
Healthy Working Lives also encourages companies to provide support for breastfeeding mothers who are returning to work. In the early 1990s Scotland's breastfeeding rates were among the lowest in Western Europe.
Breastfeeding initiation and duration are increasing in Scotland, and it is envisioned that Healthy Working Lives will play a key role in supporting this issue.
The Healthy Working Lives Award portfolio contains different criteria for organisations with, and without catering facilities, and also for organisations that have previously achieved the healthyliving award (external site).
Engagement in the award programme offers employers guidance that supports and informs the development and implementation of an organisation’s healthy eating policies and procedures. It also provides guidance on food preparation and serving methods.
→ Find out more about the Healthy Working Lives Award Programme
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