More than ever employers know that an inclusive workplace is the only workplace that truly thrives. Your team want to belong. They want to be themselves and know that you understand their needs and barriers they may face at work or home.
That’s why we all need better policies, respect and action to build healthy workplaces for people living with obesity. All employers, and employee advocates, can make this happen.
Employers have an unprecedented opportunity to create healthier environments in formal, flexible or hybrid workplaces. It is not only about the physical workspace, but the practical and emotional support needed for employees to feel included, belong and ultimately thrive.
Start with the facts
There are many stigmatising assumptions made about people living with obesity. It is often presented as a lifestyle choice or a lack of willpower. The tired mantra to ‘eat less, move more’ fails to acknowledge that obesity is a disease and that there are many other factors.
If you want to support your colleagues effectively, you need to start by understanding what obesity is, which factors drive it and how to talk about it yourself. Our tools are ready to help you on your obesity inclusion journey.
There is a lot you as an employer can do to help them. It starts by creating a culture of health where all people feel supported in their health journey. That includes a range of cultural changes and written policies that explicitly encourage employees to prioritise health throughout the working day. We have 8 tips to get you thinking about what could change at your workplace.
It can be difficult to translate your colleagues’ personal, varied and culturally specific needs into effective health strategies. Rather than rely only on short-term incentives such as step counts and weight loss goals, create a physical and cultural environment that promotes good mental and physical health. That way, everyone benefits and you are building a legacy for future growth. Our simple recommendations are ready for an HR team or active Employee Resource Network to get started on.
Fuel to Go & Play® is an initiative of the Western Australian School Canteen Association Inc. (WASCA), funded by Healthway, focusing on community venues and events as a setting for health promotion. We aim to increase awareness, exposure and provision of healthy food and drink options, through creating healthier food environments such as canteens, cafes, kiosks and vending machines.
Fuel to Go & Play® supports community organisations, events and venues (such as sporting clubs, recreation and entertainment venues) together with the health professionals who work with them. The program offers an extensive suite of tools and resources including a comprehensive website, online training, education and promotional materials, e-newsletters and social media channels. Additionally, our Accreditation Program recognises and rewards venues that are committed to offering a healthier food service with Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 Accreditation based on core areas (training, policy, action plan, environmental strategies and menu).
We review menus using a traffic-light system to classify food and drinks as green, amber or red, based on their nutritional value, consistent with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. Venues work towards meeting targets of offering a minimum of 40% green, and a maximum of 30% red items.
Sporting clubs are major participants of Fuel to Go & Play® through their involvement in the Healthway-funded Healthy Sporting Club Program. Eligible clubs can receive up to $4,000 to help increase healthy food and drink options at club-run canteens or kiosks. Through this initiative, clubs have access to Fuel to Go & Play® online training and a range of branded merchandise to promote healthier menu options. You can hear from some of the venues that have participated in the program below.
Perth Netball Association's story
Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre's story
Perth Broncos American Football Club's story
In addition to being recipients of a Healthy Sporting Club grant, Perth Broncos American Football Club became the first Fuel to Go & Play® Level 3 Accredited venue, the highest level in the program. They offer an impressive menu and have embraced the ethos of the program to promote their healthier food and drink options.
We are stronger together. Obesity organisations, coalitions and patient groups are in action all over the world and they want to work with employers. Find your local or regional group today so you can share expertise, inspiration, and support.
World Obesity Day is a unique opportunity to mount a global call for change. Please share this page and our available resources with your networks on social media to help us reach and support more people than ever before!