Believe it or not, the bulk of studies looking at job stress and high blood pressure have found little association. However, poor management of work-related stress, such as excess eating and drinking can lead to high blood pressure.

New Blood Pressure Guidelines

In 2017, hypertension was redefined.

  • Old: 140/90
  • New: 130/80.

According the CDC, 1 in 3 US adults have high blood pressure. And, only half (54%) have their blood pressure under control.

blood pressure guidelines chart from american heart association

What’s the pulse of your company? At McDaniel Nutrition, we offer worksite programs to help lower the risk of stress-related behaviors potentially leading to high blood pressure. Here’s a peak at what companies can do and how we can support you.

Walk and Talk meetings

Assess the nature of your meetings. Do they have to take place in that windowless conference room? Research shows that getting outdoors can spark the neuro-pathways in our brains leading to creativity and better ideas. Encourage employees to hit the pavement, outdoor paths, or city sidewalks to connect with a colleague.

Research shows that five-minute walks scattered throughout the day can be a highly effective way to reduce fatigue.  Walking is important for overall health and counterbalances desk job related “sitting disease.”

Offer Healthy Workplace Snack Options 

Healthy office snacks are staples at the fastest growing companies. A tasty, healthy, easy access snack can help employees feel inspired and productive. The common soda and chips are likely to lead to fatigue and stress. Plus, offering healthy office snacks demonstrates that the company cares about their employees’s health and welfare. Employees are quick to testify that while money talks, healthy office snacks are a meaningful perk.

We can learn from some of proactive companies such as Google and Microsoft who stock their cafeterias with color-coded, healthy snack options for easy access. In addition, they provide smaller plates to encourage portion control. They even have on-site kitchens for employees to prep meals for nutritious dinners for themselves and their families.

Build stress-free experiences into your calendar

Plan for ways to create balance in the workday. Even small, but intentional breaks such as a brisk walk or tea time can help employees refresh before they knock out a big task or meeting.  Focus work breaks around a wellness theme, such as:

  • Move It Monday: Hire a yoga teacher or personal trainer to lead a 30-minute class to get employees on their feet.
  • Hump Day Healthy Happy Hour: Offer healthy smoothie recipes at your next happy hour.  Grabbing a healthy snack at the end of the workday offers employees a much needed energy boost before child pick up or their post-work workout.
  • Meal Planning Friday: Give employees 15 minutes to meal plan with a colleague. They’ll prep their grocery list and be ready for Saturday morning grocery shopping

Small Changes Make Big Impressions 

Remember that starting small is the first step in creating change.  As you initiate healthier work-place activities, employee participation will clue you in on their success. One thing is for sure, your employees will notice the company’s investment in them as people, not just performers.

At McDaniel Nutrition, we can help your company/employees:

  • Develop a healthy snack menu
  • Provide cooking demos teaching employees how to prep healthy snacks/meals for office or home
  • Provide individual dietary counseling on ways to lower blood pressure

Want help designing healthy perks and challenges for your employees?  We’d love to design and deliver a nutritious plan of support for your team. Contact us today!

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.