Over 72 million people in Southeast Asia go to work every day [Global Economy, 2021]. In a lifetime, ordinary people will spend at least 90,000 hours at work [Pryce Jones, 2010].
The lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating behavior are responsible for the loss of workers’ productivity and ultimately cause a substantial economic burden [Grimani, 2019] due to sickness they suffer. However, work productivity can increase by at least 2 percent when workers make healthier food choices and develop healthy eating habits [Jensen, 2011]. This highlights the importance of health and nutrition interventions on workers and in their workplace. Healthy workers will not only bring prosperity to their workplace, but also to their family and the community where they live.
Thus, SEAMEO RECFON initiated a new flagship program called Nutrition Goes to Workplace (NGTW), in line with its life span approach to food and nutrition, under its Third Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP 2021/2022 – 2025/2026). This program targets the adults especially those in the working sector.
To optimize productivity and well-being of working adults toward enabling them to contribute to their family’s welfare and company’s viability through an integrated implementation of appropriate community nutrition and occupational health interventions.
- To bridge the health and nutrition gaps among various demographics of working communities in different work settings toward developing appropriate food-based recommendations
- To enhance the knowledge and practice of workers and employers on healthier food choices and better eating habits that leads to their optimum productivity
- To enhance the institutional capacities of employers to address workers’ food and nutrition security through relevant policy and program interventions
- To build strategic partnerships with workers’ and employers’ organizations to promote healthy and nutrition-friendly workplace for optimum productivity
- 2021-2022: Compilation of lessons learned on implementation of policies and programs on health promotion in the workplace in Southeast Asian countries.
- Benchmarking of nutritional status and eating habits of school teachers in Southeast Asia as primary targets of the Program;
- Development of promotional and capacity building materials; and
- Establishment of working groups and partnerships with workers’ and employers’ organizations in Southeast Asia.
- 2022-2024: Piloting and evaluation of the NGTW Program in Indonesia.
- 2024-2026: Expansion of the NGTW Program in other countries in Southeast Asia.