Addressing America's Retirement Savings Crisis

How Employers can Have Influence in Diet and Disease Prevention

Diet plays a significant role in disease prevention, management, and general health, influencing how frequently an employee visits the doctor and their overall healthcare costs. Despite this, nutrition support is uncommon in some employee benefit plans. As more research is published proving the benefits of nutritious diets, more employers are beginning to provide access to dietitians and care teams.

Research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has shown the impact of a healthier diet. Improving diet quality by 25% can reduce the risk of dying from cancer by up to 18%, from heart disease by 13%, and from respiratory disease by 46%. However, it can be difficult for employees to build and maintain a healthy diet without proper guidance, which emphasizes the importance of having accessible dietitians.

Employer Roles

Employers are encouraged to research their health plan to determine if nutrition counseling is covered, and contact Creative Benefits for assistance, if needed. Through access to a registered dietitian, employees can complete an assessment and work with them throughout the year. This coordination may help manage conditions such as diabetes or hypertension while ensuring the diet is enjoyable and sustainable.

Dietitians play a critical role by asking key questions about family dynamics, cooking habits, food access, and history of eating disorders. By addressing these factors, dietitians help manage or prevent chronic conditions, potentially saving employers significant healthcare costs. According to the CDC, diabetes alone costs employers nearly $106 billion annually in reduced productivity and disability. Better nutrition can mitigate these costs by lowering the risk of chronic conditions becoming disabling and deadly.

The Role of Medications and Nutrition

It is also important to note that medications, such as the notorious GLP-1s, are most effective when introduced after beneficial diet and behavioral changes.

Medicines can enhance health and well-being, such as lowering blood pressure, curing infection, or relieving pain. However, they also come with risks, such as the known and unknown side-effects that can damage health. While many individuals rely on medications alone, nutrition should be the first step taken to improve one’s health.

Through the integration of nutritional support into employee benefit plans, employers can foster a healthier workforce, reduce healthcare costs, and enhance overall employee well-being.

If you have questions regarding your health benefits and whether they include diet and nutrition coaching, contact your dedicated Creative Benefit, Inc. team member.