Employees struggled with poor health and nutrition long before the COVID-19 crisis made everything worse. Now, they need extra support. That’s because obesity, diabetes, and other chronic health issues become more of a concern when combined with a lack of physical activity, consistently poor nutritional habits, and increasing stress.
The silver lining is that employers can help employees negate the health effects of coronavirus and quarantine — often at no additional expense to their companies. Virtual nutrition counseling allows employees to consult registered dietitians from the comfort and safety of their homes. Through these company healthcare benefits, employers can provide employees with the support they need during difficult times.
The Impact of Registered Dietitians
When employees are under acute stress, the risks to their systemic health increase. Unfortunately, more than 66% of U.S. workers are no longer in their typical workspaces, and 69% of employees say this is the most stressful time of their careers. Disrupted routines and increased stress lead to bad health habits such as binge eating and picking foods high in fat. Unhealthy foods can serve as temporary mood boosters, but research from Binghamton University shows that they’re contributing to employees’ depression.
Prolonged anxiety and feelings of depression perpetuate issues like poor nutrition and a lack of exercise, compounding the overall negative effects. For example, in the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s survey of obese patients, 66% of respondents say they exercise less during COVID-19 and find it harder to reach their personal health goals. The more risk factors employees have, the more susceptible they are to the direct health effects of coronavirus.
What many employees lack, especially during quarantine and stay-at-home orders, is access to better health counseling and resources. So what can companies do to support employee health when they have trouble accessing what they need? Provide virtual nutrition counseling. Registered dietitians can help employees target their specific health needs, and with qualified nutrition counseling, employees can benefit from:
Improved access to healthcare — Amid the pandemic, the greatest advantage of telehealth services is the decreased risk of exposure. Virtual nutrition counseling eliminates the risk of exposure for nonemergency visits and makes it easier for employees to learn about healthier nutrition. Without this kind of remote access, employees might not take advantage of a benefit they need and already have in their health plans.
Expert advice — Registered dietitians are highly qualified professionals who provide evidence-based counseling to help employees improve their eating habits. At Healthy Bytes, every registered dietitian holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics, has been accredited by a reputable organization, and receives continuous evaluation to maintain his or her standing.
Access to meal plans and other resources — Finding online resources for designing meal plans and supporting healthier eating habits can be challenging. Virtual nutrition counseling provides employees with instant access to healthcare professionals and the materials they need to support their health goals.
Lower health risks and healthcare costs — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that up to 75% of corporate healthcare costs are associated with managing chronic conditions related to poor nutrition. Taking advantage of free nutrition counseling can be an important step for employers looking to lower their healthcare costs and improve the well-being of their employees. Plus, employees will often have little or no co-pay themselves.
The best part about virtual registered dietitian services is that they may already be covered by the healthcare benefits employers provide. Employers who want to help employees navigate the negative health effects of coronavirus and quarantine should reach out to Healthy Bytes today.