A study on the wishes and needs of companies regarding the deployment of dietitians in lifestyle promotion at the workplaceAn investigation into the wishes and needs of companies about the use of the dietitian in lifestyle promotion in the workplace
A healthy lifestyle benefits employees and employers. Employees feel healthier and benefit from an increasing quality of life. For employers a better productivity and less non-attendance is positive. A dietitian has specific knowledge about lifestyle behaviour, is specialised in behavioural change and lifestyle promotion in the workplace.
This study investigated the wishes and needs of companies regarding the employment of dietitians in lifestyle promotion.
Data were collected through twelve semi-structured interviews with employers and employees responsible for health policy of twelve large, medium and small companies in Netherlands. Transcripted interviews were analysed by open coding.
Two themes resulted from the analyses: Theme 1) Health management, with the subthemes ‘lifestyle promotion in the workplace’, to address lifestyle’ and ‘changing legislation’; Theme 2) Dietitian in company, with the subthemes ‘working together’, ’tasks and activities’, ‘added value dietitian’, ‘expectations dietitian’ and ‘embedding in organisation’. Important findings by Theme 1 were: lifestyle promotion within companies is diversely organized with different degrees of priority, depending on age and health profile of the employees. Important findings by Theme 2 were: I) only one company had employed a dietitian. Reasons not to this were: the dietitian is not visible and financial reasons, II) companies seem to have a unilateral and sometimes negative image of the dietitian, III) the added value of the dietitian for companies is unclear, IV) adapting a product to a company, and being creative and approachable are conditions for success, and V) companies prefer to work with dietitians on a project basis.
Companies with employees with an unfavourable risk profile need an expert. Companies see a role for the dietitian in running nutritional interventions, but also as a contact person for employees on health and nutrition. It is important that the dietitian is approachable, can appeal to the employees, and is effective in helping changing the lifestyle.
Keywords: Work, Dietitian, Lifestyle promotion