A Sci Am blog post reported that the USA lags in efficiency of converting workers' time into money. A lot of that is because workers have chronic obesity-related diseases.
Ironically, the supply of fattening junk food at people’s workplaces is a significant cause of the obesity problem. People bring cheap junk food to share; employers supply cheap junk food at parties. It’s hard for people to resist when they are right next to it all day. Food companies are very skilled at producing hyper-palatable, cheerfully packaged, cheap - and fattening food.
Social eating is a big part of the obesity problem generally.
People bring fattening food into a social environment – like work or at a party – and cheerfully invite others to share the “goodies”. This is considered sociality in the USA culture.
And people go to restaurants to be social, and restaurant food is generally also high fat.
And if you object, you feel like a spoilsport, a grim reminder of people’s flab. I went to the barbeque of a social group, where most of the people were overweight. It was full of marshmallows and other junk food. I objected later, but I was met with an attitude of “there’s nothing wrong with eating treats now and then” and the suggestion that I must have an eating disorder! (I'm thinnish but in the normal weight range.)
If I were overweight I would consider it urgent NOT to be eating such stuff, and an unkindness for someone to tempt me with it. But overweight and very obese people are routinely exposed to this.
No wonder so many people are fat, when fattening food is associated with cheerful social occasions.
If you want happy productive teams, you have to feed them food that will make them happy. The best I can suggest is that you worry about your health and make choices based on your values. No one likes to be lectured on their own food choices
Unfortunately people are profoundly influenced by the food environment. That's just how we are. Arguing from individual choice just doesn't cut it here. When people bring junk food to work occasions or social occasions, it causes obesity. The social environment is a major cause of obesity.
And, I am not "lecturing people on their own food choices". I'm surprised to be attacked for posting on the obesity-causing food environment, because it is so clearly true.
Also, if health insurance becomes obligatory, then people have to pay for others' bad choices. Obesity increases health insurance costs a LOT. People who eat healthy and don't get fat and don't have the health problems that result from metabolic syndrome, don't need the hip replacements, knee replacements necessitated by excess weight, the food amputations because of type 2 diabetes - etc. etc. - still end up paying for them.
Arguing from individual choice also doesn't cut it, when everyone has to pay the cost.
Also, one point of the original post was that it's ironic that people so often get fattened by junk food available at work, because the Sciam blog post said that the USA doesn't do very well in the utilization of human capital, and what employers are trying to do, is to utilize human capital in the most cost-effective way.
For employers to create or allow a fattening work environment is short-sighted. They provide cheap junk food that makes people fat - and the cheapness is one reason for that. But long term, it raises the cost of health insurance.
Not all businesses do this. I stayed at a Hampton Inn several times while I was living in hotels, and they were generally socially and environmentally conscious, including providing baskets of fruit in the lobby instead of pastries and rolls. The idea that people won't like healthy food may well be false, since the "junk food is fun" idea is programmed into people by advertising.
Joan commented earlier in this thread on the stigmatization of people who point out the toxic elements of our culture.
Or healthy substitute indulgences. Like fruit - I think of one party where they had big bowls of berries. Very appetizing.