​Longer and sedentary working hours in recent years have led to an increase in the proportion of adult Singaporeans being overweight and obese. Based on the National Health Survey conducted by the Ministry of Health in 1998 and 2004, the proportion of overweight Singaporeans has risen from 30.4% in 1998 to 32.5% in 2004. Likewise, the percentage of the working population who are obese rose from 5.2% in 1998 to 6.6% in 2004.

You may be wondering what the link is between watching one's weight and his or her job. Based on the assumption that a person works for an average of 9.5 hours per day (not considering overtime), it works out to approximately 60% of his waking hours spent at the workplace. Thus, it's logical to conclude that whatever happens during this large portion of the time at the workplace affects, in one way or another, the state of well-being, namely the social, mental and physical health of the person.

The health risks of being overweighted and obese are enormous and so are the economic costs. Obesity increases the risk for coronary heart diseases, Type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancers, stroke, osteoarthritis etc, all of which could potentially affect your ability to work. Excessive weight is preventable and manageable, especially when coupled with a balanced diet and regular physical activity.

We spend a large time in our workplaces. This ecology can shape and influence the way we adapt and adopt to changes. Proper, balanced nutrition at workplaces can help to keep obesity at bay, and in the longer term improve quality of life and work productivity. 

Offering good nutrition at the workplace is very simple and doable. Ensuring that the canteen or cafeteria (if your workplace has one) serves healthier menus, with more fruit and vegetables - and reducing salt and fat content in dishes - are just a few ways of implementing this. 

Catering healthier menus for your staff functions and organised events is another easy alternative. The low maintenance, attractive looking vending machines can also be an integral part of creating an environment conducive to healthy eating.

Also, do keep a lookout for upcoming weight management programmes customised for your workplace!