Can Diet Really Affect Work Productivity?


Apparently, it can. Lack of exercise, smoking, and an unhealthy diet are all factors contributing to substantial drops in how much you can accomplish in a working day. Read on to discover more findings from the study conducted by researchers from Brigham Young University, the Center for Health Research at Healthways, and the Health Enhancement Research Organization.

Diet, Exercise, and Work Productivity Statistics

As the study reveals, employees who followed a diet low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains were 66% more likely to be less productive. Those who didn’t exercise regularly were 50% more likely to experience a drop in productivity. Smokers were 28% more likely to experience a decrease in productivity levels.

The researchers also looked at the link between exercise during working hours and productivity levels. In companies where employees found it difficult to exercise during the day, productivity was 96% more likely to drop.

A Company’s Share in (Decreased) Employee Productivity & Morale

The research also reveals that the company’s willingness to assist employees in improving their health is one of many factors affecting employee morale. Productivity is better when firms actively support employees trying to get healthy.

According to Healthways’ vice president and chief science officer, Dr. James Pope, the research also confirmed that productivity loss attributed to poor health habits is also linked to lower levels of well-being. This, in turn, increases health risks and directly correlates with chronic disease occurrence.

A drop in employees’ productivity affects not only theirs but also the overall company’s performance. According to the Health Enhancement Research Organization’s CEO, Jerry Noyce, companies must examine productivity loss and monitor it. This is the best way to establish the impact on the company’s profitability.

Noyce went on to say that business leaders are able to do a lot to prevent productivity loss. To begin with, companies should focus on improving employees’ well-being. Programs of the sort can help improve employee satisfaction, and in turn, productivity. This has a positive effect on the bottom line.

Age, Gender, and Profession as Productivity Factors

The research looked at a number of personal and work-related factors that have an impact on productivity. Some of them include employees not having sufficient time or technological support to complete their work, as well as financial stress.

In terms of age, loss in productivity was most common in the demographics between 30 and 39. Employees aged 60 and over were least likely to experience a drop in productivity.

When it comes to gender, women were more likely to experience a drop in productivity. Moreover, widowed, divorced, or separated women were more likely to be affected than married women.

Profession-wise, office and clerical workers in the transportation and service fields were more likely to experience a decline in productivity. Employees working in mining, construction, fishing, forestry, and farming were least likely to experience a drop in productivity.


As Dr. Pope went on to confirm the significance of the findings, he pointed out that the numbers of employees with health issues, sedentary lifestyles, and too much body fat were at the highest they’ve ever been.

While it was revealed that employee productivity is affected by age, gender, and profession; diet and exercise seem to be the leading factors of employee productivity. However, a company’s active support in improving staff’s overall well-being can help minimize their negative impact.

The findings were revealed in a survey-based study with a sample size of 19,803 employees. Participants were drawn from three big companies and different geographic locations to ensure that the sample was more widely representative.