Unfortunately, when it comes to personal nutrition and fitness, Laborers and their families are not immune to cultural afflictions that broadly infect the U.S. and Canadian populations. Neither society is as active as it used to be, but we continue to love our food. Not surprisingly, about two out of every three adults in the two countries are overweight.

Moreover, the examples Laborers set for their children – and the food, snacks and drinks provided at home – are helping to create a generation of children who are more obese than ever before. For parents and kids alike, the extra weight means decades of unnecessary illness and suffering.

NFL Topics
1.  An overview of obesity, including statistics, health consequences and effects on Laborers

2. The essential components to a healthy eating plan for proper nutrition built around the examination of the components in a sample food label

3. An overview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Pyramid and the recommended daily amounts in each food group

4. An overview of the physical activity needed for a healthy lifestyle and how physical conditioning can be incorporated into the life of a Laborer

5. Recommendations on how to appropriately incorporate healthy behavior changes into a Laborer’s life

Nor is it cheap. It is estimated that all the extra weight costs the United States $93 billion annually in unnecessary medical costs.

Adopting lifestyle changes to bring one’s weight back into the safe, natural range for human beings may be the single most important thing that anyone can do to ensure a long, healthy and productive life, but it is an admittedly difficult and protracted task. The HP Division is committed to helping.

Nutrition and Fitness for Laborers (NFL) is the Division’s newest program, designed to help Laborers improve their dietary and exercise habits. The program includes an Instructor’s Guide, participant pamphlets and a series of educational posters. The program is designed for use in classes or presentations at LIUNA training centers, local unions, health fairs or toolbox talks.

The Guide is designed to facilitate teaching classes of various lengths, from one hour to a full day. Each section includes additional materials to further explain and amplify its content.  Supplemental materials – addressing emotional eating, binge eating, diets, vegetarian diets, vegetarian options when eating out, calories burned on the job, calories burned during exercise and help resources – are included in the appendices.

“Changing lifestyle habits doesn’t happen overnight,” says HP Division Director Mary Jane MacArthur. “As with New Year’s resolutions, even the best of intentions can fall to the wayside without encouragement and support. We know many Laborers want to change. The problem is always what to do and how. Nutrition and Fitness for Laborers can help answer those questions with ‘best practice’ guidance tailored to the lives of Laborers and their families.”