Written by Amanda Thieba
A couple of weeks ago, the World Obesity Federation hosted a compelling webinar on their Healthy Venues Accreditation programme and ways to create healthy meeting experiences for delegates and staff when holding events. Here at C3, enabling healthy choices to prevent non-communicable diseases is what we do and the purpose of the events we hold. Indeed, whether it’s through the content we invite our speakers to present at our International Breakfast Seminars and Workplace Health Movement meetings, or practices such as the popular first order of business at these early morning sessions (i.e. the healthy morning breakfast!), we constantly strive to make it easier to live healthier lives. Back in August 2016 for example, Andrew Sykes presented a fascinating C3 International Breakfast Seminar on supporting employees to develop a set of pivotal healthy habits at work so they can generate better performance.
However, we realise there are various little things we could further do to help transform our seminars into a healthier one. We impart below some of the helpful tips learnt in the World Obesity Federation webinar to add onto your event planning check-list if you aren’t already doing them!
The Healthy Venues Accreditation programme
In 2016, the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow was the first venue in the world to ever receive a Healthy Venues Award by the World Obesity Federation. This accreditation programme was launched in 2015 as part of the Federation’s Action Initiative. It is the first global scheme that sets benchmarks assessing efforts to create healthy meeting and working experiences for delegates and venue staff. Venues apply for the award which is composed of three tiers (bronze, silver, gold) for which criteria were developed with experts in public health and nutrition, as well as three components including healthy catering, promoting physical activity and workplace health.
Creating a healthy meeting
While like C3 you may not be a venue supplier yourself, you can choose to exclusively hold your events at an accredited healthy venue or apply the useful tips provided by the Healthy Venues Award’s list of criteria to your own events.
For instance, the healthy catering section of the programme appraises venues on the diversity of healthy options they offer and things you can do to support healthy drinking and eating include:
- Healthy catering practices such as reducing the use of sugar and salt or using whole grain foods
- Providing equivalently priced healthy foods as the default options
- Ensuring vending machines offer healthier snacks and beverages.
Likewise, you can promote ways to stay active during your meetings and within their vicinity by:
- Encouraging active travel to the venue and physical activity in the venue’s area (e.g. providing a route for walking and jogging which also gives an opportunity for sightseeing)
- Reducing sedentary behaviour during the event through standing applauses, standing conferences, making space at the back to stretch etc.
As you will have realised, implementing the above changes will involve a few compromises including the location of your meeting, building in time in your events’ schedules to allow for exercise, and balancing any interests that may conflict with providing healthier drinking and eating options at your events.
Encouraging healthier meeting experiences is likely to increase your attendees’ responsiveness and engagement at meetings. More importantly, many of us spend an important part of our working lives hosting or attending conferences and healthy meetings provide yet another pivotal way to nudge people towards making healthier choices in their daily lives.
Looking for a healthy event to attend? Join us at our International Breakfast Seminars.