Skip to main content

03 May 2024

Dr Rachel Gibson: The role of workplaces in shaping nutritional health

Dr Gibson recently shared her expertise at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Nutrition: Science and Health

Rachel Gibson (pictured) delivering a presentation

Dr Rachel Gibson, Senior Lecturer in Nutrition and a UK Registered Dietitian, has spoken about how the workplaces influencing our dietary choices and health and the role that employers can play in working with nutritional health professionals to support improving population nutritional health.

Dr Gibson was invited to present at the Nutrition Society Nutrition: Science and Health All-Party Parliamentary Group Meeting on Tuesday 23 April. The Nutrition: Science and Health APPG aims to raise parliamentary awareness and stimulate informed debate around regional, national & global nutrition issues; and to champion nutrition science to support evidence-based policymaking in areas surrounding nutrition and health challenges.

This meeting was the final meeting in a series of three and forms part of an ongoing Inquiry Report to Members of Parliament. The report will examine how applying cutting-edge nutrition science can make a difference to health and support the work of the NHS, according to three themes:

  1. ‘The Dual Health Burden of Malnutrition and Obesity in the UK’: Focusing on the costs and burdens of poor diet, hidden hunger and malnutrition.
  2. ‘Food and Mood': The impact of nutrition on cognition and mental health, dementia, Alzheimer’s, the gut microbiome, and healthy ageing.
  3. ‘Prevention and Resilience through Empowerment’: Solutions through empowering front line Health care Professionals and informing local policy interventions.'

Dr Gibson’s research focuses on two main areas, workplace, diet and health and dietary patterns and health. She is the Nutrition Society Chair of Workplace diet and health under the theme of Nutrition and Optimum Life Course, providing a platform for collaboration and promotion of the promotion of high-quality nutritional research to understand the current state of evidence in workplace diet and health.

As part of the third theme, Dr Gibson presented the case for the role of workplaces in shaping nutritional health – developing and maintaining sustainable health behaviours through mid-life. The key messages presented were:

  • The increasing duration of our lifetime that we are spending in work – therefore making 'working age' an essential life stage focus for public health nutrition policy
  • How workplaces influence our dietary choices and health – through the onsite food environment, job role, work stress & organisational culture
  • The important role employers can play in improving population nutritional health – especially amongst hard-to-reach population groups
  • How nutritional health professionals are well placed to work with employers to deliver evidence based nutritional interventions

It was great to have the opportunity to present at the Nutrition: Science and Health APPG, supporting an evidence-based approach to make a difference to public health. Understanding the impact that the work environment can have on nutritional health behaviours is essential to a life course approach in public health and a key step to raising awareness of how health professionals and academics can shape sustainable health behaviours working in partnership with employers.

Dr Rachel Gibson

In this story

Rachel  Gibson

Senior Lecturer