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Not making healthy choices at lunch? You’re not alone

Photograph: Shutterstock

Over half of American workers who eat lunch on the job have difficulty making healthy choices during the midday meal, according to recent research commissioned by Aramark and the American Heart Association (AHA).

Eighty-two percent of employees said it’s important to them to have healthy foods to choose from at work, and just over two-thirds (68%) say they value assistance from their employer when it comes to improving their health. Among respondents whose workplaces have a cafeteria, vending machine or other type of on-site foodservice, 79% said they utilize those amenities “at least some of the time.”

The need for convenience appeared to steer respondents toward less healthy items, with 60% citing that factor as having at least “quite a bit of impact” on their food choices. Forty-three percent of respondents said restricted availability of healthy items has that same level of impact. 

The study, an online survey of 907 U.S. workers, was conducted by The Harris Poll for Healthy for Life 20 by 20, a joint endeavor of Aramark and the AHA.

“Through this survey, and as part of extensive consumer insights gained throughout our Healthy for Life 20 by 20 initiative, consumers are emphasizing that health and wellness is top of mind every day,” Dan Wainfan, VP of health, wellness and nutrition for Aramark, said in a statement. “While they don’t always make a healthy choice, they always want delicious, healthy choices available—at work and at home.”

Aramark says it has slashed calories, sodium and saturated fat at its college and university, healthcare, and business and industry dining locations that have upped their focus on plant-based dining, a concentration spurred in part by Aramark’s partnership with the AHA.

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