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How Poor Diet Effects Your Workforce  

August 8, 2016 by Ed Becker

Poor nutrition not only is dangerous for your employees personally, but it effects your workforce as a whole, your bottom line and your costs of providing health benefits. Employees who have poor nutrition also tend to lack motivation and have lower production rates. An increase in sick days and long term illnesses are also linked directly to poor eating habits. These all directly or indirectly effect the companies they work for and their expected life time work length. People who follow a healthier diet and an exercise routine are able to work more consistently and have been shown to earn more throughout their lifetime.

Hands holding an healthy fresh vegetarian salad in a bowl, fresh raw vegetables on background, top view

Some of the major issues with poor nutrition and the effects of those are explained in this article. Nutrition is a topic that requires an in depth research; this article provides a general overview on the subject for businesses to take into consideration. There are also some tips for small business owners to help educate and improve your employee’s nutritional lifestyle.


Obesity causes many health and mental issues, personally and that affect a person in the workplace. Obesity is a growing problem in America as well as globally as traditional foods are easily given up for processed foods. A short list of the effects that are linked to obesity are:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Fatigue

Obesity in the workplace can affect production, require longer breaks and higher risks of injuries.

Brain Cognition

When our brains are not properly nourished they do not properly function. When poor diet or nutrition is long term it can cause very negative effects on the brain such as:

  • Energy levels
  • Irritability/Mood swings
  • Reduced ability to think clearly
  • Higher risks of depression & anxiety
  • Creativity

These cognitive issues in the workplace are very obviously a concern for the employee as well as the overall environment and safety issues.


Nearly all Americans are dehydrated to some degree. Many are chronically dehydrated and do not even realize it. The main symptoms of dehydration that would cause problems in the workplace are:

  • Poor planning skills
  • Fatigue

This is an easy health problem to address, adding water fountains in the office accessible to all employees can make a big difference.


  • Decreased ability to perform your job effectively

It would seem to be a no-brainer that even the general and limited symptoms of poor diet and nutrition would cause decreased productivity at work. If your employees are not following a healthy lifestyle of good nutrition and exercise they definitely cannot work up to their full potential.

Tips for eating healthier

  • It’s OK to start slowly

You don’t have to go all out health food geek crazy to be effective! Take it one step at a time so you feel good and more comfortable about your new choices. Start by buying fresh, raw foods rather than easy to prepare processed foods.

  • Bio-individual lifestyle

Not every fad diet is healthy, nor does one eating lifestyle work for every person. Our bodies are individual; therefore, our nutritional lifestyle should be what works for you!

  • Cut down on sugar

Sugar is toxic, and it has been proven to be as or more addictive than some drugs. Processed foods are full of sugar and additives that make it taste good and cause you to become dependent on their sugary taste. To break the sugar cycle, you have to cut out processed foods.

  • Cook at home

Cooking fresh foods at home, not from a box is the easiest way to cut out sugar and processed foods. It is also fun. And you can get the whole family excited about eating healthier if you cook together.

Tips for business owners to create a healthier workplace

  • Health & Wellness program incentives
  • Create a health oriented break-room
  • Discounts to exercise programs
  • Offer in-house programs

There are many ways even small business owners can create a workplace environment that is healthier. It does not have to be expensive to be effective. While no matter the cost, in the long run, it pays off in increased production, less sick days and lower health care benefit costs. And lastly, but not least, you care about your team and their health! See How Small Businesses Can Implement Wellness Programs for more in-depth suggestions on implementing a wellness program that can fit any budget. 

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