Workplaces should focus on healthy eating habits

It is time to address the factors behind unhealthy food consumption in the Singapore workforce (MOH to look at more ways to cut smoking and high sugar intake; May 12).

For instance, most companies in the construction and manufacturing sectors put in continuous and rigorous efforts in maintaining a safety culture.

However, such companies are less likely to do the same to ensure that healthy eating behaviours are cultivated in its workforce.

This could be because even a temporary business closure resulting from a fire can have repercussions on profits but the causality between health and labour productivity is often disentangled and less obvious.

While safety and health training also tends to drum the importance of environmental health into workers, healthy consumption habits often seem to be overlooked.

A worker's health goes hand in hand with his safety.

Thus, organisations that operate their own canteens, for example, can ensure that food vendors offer healthier food choices to their employees in keeping with the Healthier Choice scheme. Food caterers for corporate events can also be encouraged to offer healthier menus.

Employers should take care not to send contradictory messages by offering unhealthy desserts as employee perks, and should emphasise the healthy worker as the cornerstone of work capacity and performance in the same way that safety has been regarded for business sustainability.

Grace Chew Chye Lay (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 15, 2018, with the headline 'Workplaces should focus on healthy eating habits'. Print Edition | Subscribe