October is Healthy Workplace Month

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submitted by: Marie Traynor RD, MSc, Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

What about that workplace weight loss contest?

This Workplace Wellness Month, try to take the focus off weight and put the focus on people’s positive qualities and health. After all, healthy bodies look different for different people. Focusing on weight loss instead of overall health may lead to weight bias and stigma, and can negatively impact health and wellbeing, including employee self-esteem and body image.

There’s no doubt that weight loss is one of the most common topics of interest in workplace wellness. However, there are some risks to those weight loss contests.
Promoting weight loss may increase the risk of developing health problems.
Weight loss challenges may encourage unhealthy behaviours such as fasting, skipping meals, using weight loss supplements or following unbalanced meal plans to win the contest.

The focus on weight loss may only appeal to a small number of employees but others feel pressured.

Why not try another kind of challenge? How about:

Who can make the best chili?
Which team, or production line or department can get out for a break time walk, four days out of five?
How many people on the team can switch their second cup of coffee or their can of pop for a glass of water?

For more information visit the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds section at Healthunit.org; follow us on Twitter and Facebook, or call 1-800-660-5853.

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