Denmark is frequently ranked as the happiest country in the world. There are several factors that could be responsible for this, and among them, the Danish diet is often cited as a significant contributor. The government and the public
in Denmark have prioritised daily nutritional intake to a great degree. An example of this can be found in the ‘A fruit a day per employee’ programme under the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration department under the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, which was started to boost health benefits for the staff. The programme sought to provide fresh fruit during working hours to employees, placed strategically around the office, in meeting rooms, reception area, canteens or fruit stands in common areas. The campaign took off in a big way, and in a few years, was applied in government and non-government offices all over the country.
Denmark is a wealthy nation, and working people here can certainly afford to buy fruit themselves. So why is it necessary to provide free fruit in the workplace? It is because employers want to boost the health and well-being of their employees by encouraging the consumption of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. “Fruits are useful in preventing various lifestyle diseases, particularly cardiovascular conditions,” says Dr Steen Stender, who introduced the fruit scheme at the Clinical Biochemistry at the Gentofte Hospital in Copenhagen. Stender says that even the most educated, well-off, or health aware people might not eat a piece of fruit everyday on their own, but will certainly do so if they are offered. And when a variety of fruits are served to employees, fulfilling their nutritional requirements, it helps ensure that they are happy and satisfied, it results in a better working atmosphere and increased productivity.
Such a fruit scheme could be imported to Nepal; its effectiveness and benefits are already visible in the Danish case. Employers keen to improve job satisfaction and employee health need to take the initiative. But several factors need to be sorted before these programmes can be launched. Companies or institutions need to collaborate with local fruit growers, suppliers and markets to make sure fresh produce can be provided on a regular basis. And there is the question of finances. Companies must decide on where the money to support the project will come from—the company itself, or via contributions from employees. But once in place, the fruit scheme will speak for itself.
Adhikari is a PhD scholar at the Aarhus University, Denmark
Posted on: 2012-11-26 09:35