Hippocrates: Organisations are what they eat

AS WE enter the last week for submissions of the inaugural Health & Vitality Honours 2013, Amanda Ursell enlightens us about the importance of creating a platform for excellence. 


Napoleon, said to be one of the greatest military commanders of all time, is often quoted as having said that an army marches on its stomach. Today, enlightened, forward thinking managers, directors and CEO’s in organisations across the UK are beginning to appreciate that employees ‘work’ on theirs.


I often find with nutrition that looking back helps us to move forward. We are all familiar not just with Napoleon’s words, but also with those of Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine who way back in fifth century Cos, declared that we are, quite simply, what we eat.


Feed our bodies well and regularly and we have the foundations to help us to thrive physically and mentally. Feed them excess quantities of junk on an ad hoc basis…and we don’t.


In today’s world where things need to be researched and measured and have a proven significant impact before we really take them seriously, we can sometimes lose track of this undeniable fact.


Thankfully scientists are beginning to quantify the impact that eating well has on people’s performance at work, revealing for example that when employees experience well implemented programmes aimed at improving their health and nutrition in the work place, levels of productivity increase, absenteeism drops and people are more engaged with their work.


But this is the tip of the ‘beneficial’ iceberg when it comes to giving people access to good food at work.


When employees feel that their health is being taken seriously, there is a strong likelihood that they will feel nurtured. Feel they matter. Feel happier.


You can see what’s coming next; happier people tend to work harder, more efficiently and to feel inclined to go that extra mile for their company. They are also more likely to stay with their company, cutting costs in recruitment.


There may be a temptation to wait for better, fuller dossiers of ultra robust data to reinforce what these emerging studies suggest.


But while this is accumulating, why not take the lead not just from famous military leaders’ and ancient medical men but what, in many cases, our very own grandparents and parents implicitly knew; that eating a well-balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner helps to optimise our health.


We understand enough already to appreciate that eating in this way nourishes our body, brain and soul whether we are at work or play.


And so with this in mind, I would like to congratulate Footprint, for having the foresight and conviction to initiate the Health & Vitality Honours.


The Honours are a fantastic platform, giving companies a good reason, to in some cases continue development of and in others, begin initiating programmes that build towards a healthier food-based culture in the workplace.


The Footprint Awards have encouraged organisations in just 3 short years to appreciate the need for and then take steps to put their green credentials in order.


It is my belief that the Health & Vitality Honours will do the same for the wellbeing of individuals within organisations in the cost and profit sector through encouraging the provision of more nutritious food.


A place of work or learning which is bursting with energised people, is in a great position to thrive, develop and grow. Good food is a crucial foundation stone for good energy.


As a modern-day Hippocrates may say, organisations are what they eat.


Health & Vitality Honours


• Honours Submissions at www.healthandvitalityhons.com


• Submission deadline 9th of November 2012


• Honours Lunch 18th of January The Long Room Lord’s Cricket Ground


• Book Tickets at www.healthandvitalityhons.com