The National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health (NPAPH) was announced by the Council of Australian Government (COAG) in 2008, providing $872.1 million to health prevention and promotion over the next 9 years. The NPAPH aims to address the rising prevalence of lifestyle related chronic disease by laying the foundations for healthy behaviours in the daily lives of Australians through settings such as communities, early childhood education and care environments, schools and workplaces, supported by national social marketing campaigns.
The ‘Healthy Workers’ strategy aims to support workplace health programs that focus on decreasing rates of overweight and obesity, increasing levels of activity and intake of fruit and vegetables, smoking cessation and reducing harmful levels of alcohol consumption. The Commonwealth has allocated $294.3 million to this strategy, of which $289.1 million was made available to state and territory governments from 1 July 2011 to support health promotion activities in workplaces. The remaining funds are being used by the Commonwealth to support the implementation of state and territory activities at both a local and national level. This includes a National Healthy Workers website, a portal and toolkit for employers, a quality framework for health promotion programs in workplaces and national awards for best practice in workplace health programs.
For more information: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/phd-prevention-np or www.healthyworkers.gov.au
The Department of Health WA (DoH WA) has been funded to deliver a Healthy Workers Initiative (WA HWI) under the NPAPH. The WA HWI aims to prevent chronic disease and overweight/obesity amongst WA workers by identifying modifiable lifestyle risk factors of physical inactivity, poor diet, harmful consumption of alcohol and smoking. The DoH WA awarded a tender to the Heart Foundation, who have developed the WA-specific initiative, Healthier Workplace WA (HWWA). HWWA provide a range of tools, resources and support to assist workplaces to introduce healthy lifestyle policies and practices in their workplace. A workplace grants scheme has also been developed to assist workplaces in delivering their own healthy lifestyle interventions. An awards program will also recognise workplaces that encourage healthy lifestyle practices and behaviours in their workplace. For more information: www.healthierworkplacewa.com.au
Healthy Choices Healthy Future
With so many of us spending a large part of our day at work, we tend to also consume a large portion of food and drink over the course of a working day.
For some of us, our meals might be provided by an on-site café or staff canteen; others might be lured to the vending machine or the chocolate fundraising box for a quick fix. Perhaps a food van visits the workplace or you take advantage of the catering provided at a meeting. Whatever the source of food and drink is at your workplace, being able to select healthy choices is important.
The Healthy Choices Healthy Futures (HCHF) program can provide advice, support and recommendations for any workplace food environment. There are also a range of tools and resources that have been designed specifically for each food environment.
at functions and events,
including training courses,
meetings and functions
provided by an external
provider or by internal
kiosk / canteen The canteen, kiosk,
or café at the
machines The food and drink
facilities The facilities provided
to workers e.g. microwave,
provision of milk,
consumed by a mobile
or ‘on the road’
bought from a local
food and drink by
an external mobile
at fundraising or
social club events,
and used as gifts
provided at staff
birthdays or impromptu
Healthy Choices Healthy Future
The Healthy Choices Healthy Futures (HCHF) program has a range of tools and resources that have been designed specifically for each food environment.
The Healthy Choices Healthy Futures (HCHF) program offers free advice, support and recommendations, on their workplace food environments.
The first step in supporting a workplace is constructing a workplace profile. In meeting with a new workplace, it is essential to establish a workplace profile to provide the HCHF team a good understanding of the type of workplace that they will be engaged with to ensure realistic, achievable recommendations are provided. A workplace profile is usually created by the HCHF team in collaboration with the workplace though a face-to-face meeting, by telephone or an online form.
Each of these environments has the potential to be influenced by workplace management. The HCHF team of dietitians and nutritionists can provide support and advice to comprehensively review each of these food environments.
Catering menus can be emailed, posted or uploaded to the HCHF website for a team member to review. The following environmental influences are explored:
- what types of events are catered?
- is a regular caterer used?
- what the types of items that are regularly ordered?
- are there already standard healthy catering practices in place?
- management support for healthy catering reform
- workers’ interest and support for healthier catering items.
A HCHF team member will usually visit the onsite food outlet to photograph the food and drink on offer. The following environmental influences are explored:
- the type, capacity and layout of the outlet
- any existing healthy eating or labelling programs in operation
- menu cycle and the timeline for review
- the nature of the workforce accessing the outlet
- promotion and marketing strategies used in the outlet
- management support for healthy reform in the cafe/canteen/kiosk
- food service staff willingness and motivation to include healthier alternatives workers’ interest and support for healthy change.
As per the process for reviewing onsite food outlets; vending machine assessments usually involves taking a series of photographs of both the vending machine/s exterior and the products contained within. For remote or regional sites, photographs of the vending machines can be emailed, posted or uploaded to the HCHF website for review. The following environmental influences are explored:
- the number and type of vending machines on site
- existing contractual requirements with the vending machine supplier/s
- understand if there have been any previous efforts for healthier alternatives
- management support for healthy vending machine reform
- workers’ interest and support for healthier vending machine items.
In addition, HCHF looks specifically at the food and drink items available. The HCHF team will:
- review all food and drink items for each food environment
- for an onsite outlet, the review assesses all food and drink categories (e.g. breakfast, hot meals, salad bar, desserts, drinks)
- recipe analysis can also be provided for an onsite outlet if recipes are provided to HCHF
- within the catering assessment, depending on the workplace’s preference, the entire catering menu or a specific list of items will be assessed
- each menu item is then coded as ‘green’, ‘amber’ or ‘red’ based on a ‘traffic light’ system of classifying food and drink
Regardless of the food environment that has been reviewed, the workplace will receive a report containing practical feedback and recommendations.
Examples include fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low fat dairy products, wholegrains, eggs and legumes.
Low in saturated fat, added sugar and salt.
Examples include low-sugar drinks, full-fat dairy products and white varieties of breads and cereals.
Moderate amounts of saturated fat, added sugar and salt.
Examples include sweet biscuits, confectionary, sugar sweetened drinks and deep fried foods.
High in saturated fat, added sugar and salt.