2017-08-16 09:11:47

March is National Nutrition Month – a good time for employers to engage employees in healthy eating education | Practice Transformation Institute

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Media Contact: Barbara M. Fornasiero; EAFocus Communications; 248-260-8466; barbara@eafocus.com
 
Troy, Mich. —March 17, 2017—Practice Transformation Institute (PTI), a non-profit organization providing continuing medical education and customized learning programs that improve health outcomes and the individual care delivery experience, is noting that employers can play a role in healthy eating education this month, which is National Nutrition Month. The results can be healthier, happier and more productive employees and, ultimately, reduced health care costs for employers. PTI trainer Carla Irvin, RN, BSN, PCMH, CCE has written extensively on the topic.
 
“Busy employees can get healthier through employer education on good eating habits while also helping to create a culture of well-being,” Irvin said.
 
Irvin says there are some key education points employers can easily share via posters, webinars, and lunch and learns to help team members make informed food choices and develop good eating habits. She offers some quick tips:
 

    • Know the difference between a portion size and a serving size. A portion size is what you put on your plate. A serving size is the amount that is used to calculate the nutrients in our food; it’s what is on the food label.
    • Understand food labels. There is a lot of good information on food labels, such as serving size, calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, protein and the ever-important ingredient list. If you’re on a special diet, unsure of serving size or just want to know what you’re eating, take a look at that label. You’ll be a more informed consumer.

• Become familiar with MyPlate. The United States Department of Agriculture uses the image of a regular plate to recommend what a healthy diet would include. The plate is divided in half with four sections for fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins. Eating a variety of food isn’t difficult if we use this plate method as our guide. Get familiar with it and strive for that rainbow on your plate. https://www.choosemyplate.gov
• Strive for healthy eating. Eat fresh. Mix up your diet for nutrients and taste. Choose your snacks wisely. Aim for meals three times a day and space those meals out at regular intervals. Never skip breakfast as it fuels your day after fasting all night. Limit pop and other sugary drinks. Watch that salt intake. Choose foods with good fats like nuts and olive oil. Eat whole grains like whole grain pasta, cereals, bread and brown rice.
• Learn more about processed foods. How do we separate the minimally processed from the heavily processed? That name gets a bad rep, but many items can be called ‘processed’ that are good for us. Have a read and be able to separate the good from the bad. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/nutrition-facts-and-food-labels/avoiding-processed-foods
 
Irvin encourages employers to take special note of the physical and financial costs of an unhealthy work force, and notes that diabetes is a public health issue that can be addressed in a variety of forums, including the workplace.
 
“For people who are specifically at-risk for Type 2 diabetes, there is an urgent need to start eating healthier and increasing physical activity; employers can help by bringing certified diabetes prevention programs into the workplace,” Irvin said, adding that employees with diabetes incur an estimated additional $10,000 in annual health care costs due to diabetes-related co-morbidities such as hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity and retinal eye disease.
 
The National Diabetes Prevention Program, for example, was developed at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is a lifestyle change-focused year-long program for adults with a high risk for Type 2 diabetes. Participants learn how to include healthy eating and physical activity into their daily lives. The program consists of 16 sessions of core learning followed by six sessions for the last six months to reinforce and build on content. PTI has lifestyle coaches who can bring this program to employers and community organizations. For information about this and other employer programs offered by PTI, please contact Carla Irvin at 248.310.8476 or cirvin@transformcoach.org.