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5 things: Workplace wellness programs not effective: study

This and more are the things you missed for the week of April 15

Each Friday I compile a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the news that week and why you should care about them.

Here’s your list for the week of April 15:

1. Study: Workplace wellness programs not effective

Many companies have created wellness programs in an attempt to help lower their health insurance expenses and have higher engaged employees. However, a new study finds that those programs might not be too effective. According to the study, which was published in JAMA, workplace wellness programs did not lower blood pressure, body mass index or cholesterol. They did help produce some healthier behaviors, but the authors cautioned that employees who participate in such wellness programs often already exhibit such behaviors. “Our findings show that health behaviors can respond to a workplace wellness program, but they also temper expectations of realizing large returns on investment in the short term,” wrote the author.

Read more: Workplace wellness programs largely ineffective, study says

2. Sysco acquires two distributors

Houston-based Sysco Corp. has acquired two food distributors that specialize in Hispanic foods: J&M Wholesale Meats, which provides product to foodservice and small retail customers in the Hispanic market, and Imperio Foods Inc., which stocks Hispanic retail-pack canned goods and products. Both companies are based in Modesto, Calif.  “The acquisition of these businesses is a complementary adjacency to our existing California area business and provides Sysco with the opportunity to further extend our reach into the Hispanic customer segment,” Sysco’s Executive Vice President of US Foodservice Operations Greg Bertrand said in a release. The two companies have about $44 million in combined annual sales. The price of the acquisitions was not disclosed.

Read more: Sysco acquires two more food distributors 

3. Students start summer food assistance program

We’ve heard a lot about food insecurity lately in college students, and many universities have seen their students step up to help out their peers, often with meal swipe donation programs. College students aren’t the only ones helping out, though. A group of Indiana high schoolers is starting a food assistance program called Take and Make Meal Boxes, which to be deployed this summer when school is out. The boxes will be delivered to the homes of students enrolled in the program every two weeks and will contain items like chicken soup, peanut butter, oatmeal and fruit. Little is being said about where the funding is coming from, though the students are holding a fundraiser at a pro wrestling event. While it sounds like the district’s foodservice department isn’t involved in the program, it’s certainly an idea worth considering.

Read more: Pendleton students use broadcasting class to start summer food assistance program

4. District sees breakfast success with cart

A high school in Chesapeake (Va.) Public Schools is realizing participation increases after a cart was implemented for breakfast service. The school’s principal said that long cafeteria lines and bus driver shortages meant many students went to class without the morning meal. The cart, which offers grab-and-go breakfast options, sees about 200 students each day. Another cart, funded with the help of a No Kid Hungry Virginia grant, will be opened in the parking lot. 

Read more: Grant allows more Chesapeake students the option of breakfast on the go

5. Student starts Instagram account to chronicle “prison food” served in school

Social media can be a blessing or a curse, and one school district is finding that it might be more of the latter. A student started an Instagram account after she says she became sick after eating a school meal. The account, called “ikeprisonfood,” shows photos of foods served. The district’s superintendent said the cafeteria team and the school administration met with students and took actions such as scheduling additional inspections and implementing higher training standards for cafeteria workers based on their feedback.

Read more: Blue Island High Schooler’s Instagram Account Chronicles Cafeteria’s ‘Prison Food’

Bonus: After a decade, district reintroduces red meat on menus

Contact Becky Schilling at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @bschilling_FM

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