Each month, we are examining the core principles of one of the ten concepts of the WELL Building Standard. The Standard identifies over 100 performance metrics, design strategies, and policies that are divided into ten sections or concepts: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind, and Community. This month, we’re learning more about the Nourishment Concept.
THE NOURISHMENT CONCEPT
Our modern diet of high calorie, refined, and processed foods has the dual impact of increasing the prevalence of overweight and obesity while also leading to micronutrient deficiencies. In short, we are overweight but malnourished. In addition, poor nutrition accounts for more than one in five deaths globally. The Nourishment concept in the WELL Building Standard aims to create an environment that promotes healthy eating habits and encourages people to make healthy food choices.
Because dietary patterns are blend of personal, cultural, and environmental factors, the Nourishment concept addresses diet and nutrition from several angles with the overarching goal of making “the healthiest choice is the easiest choice.”
THE GOALS OF THE NOURISHMENT CONCEPT
The Nourishment concept focuses on providing occupants with access to healthy food options and promoting healthy eating habits. The goal is to create environments that encourage healthy eating and make it easy for people to make healthy food choices. It also includes guidelines for food service operations and catering, including food storage, preparation, and service, to protect the health and well-being of occupants. Some of the strategies to achieve these goals include:
- Providing a variety of healthy food options that are easily accessible
- Helping people make informed decisions by providing nutritional labeling and allergy information
- Promoting the consumption of fruits and vegetables
- Limiting access to high-calorie and processed foods
- Limiting access to foods and beverages with artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, and preservatives
- Promoting mindful eating and community eating habits
- Reducing access to foods treated with hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics
- Increasing access to foods that are fresh, seasonal, and locally grown
- Encouraging water consumption
- Promoting breastfeeding and providing lactation spaces for nursing mothers
- Encouraging the development of green roof spaces and other urban agriculture programs
HEALTH IMPACTS OF POOR NUTRITION
- Tooth decay
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Certain types of cancers
SMALL STEPS TO IMPROVE NUTRITION
- Meal planning: last minute decisions can lead to unhealthy choices
- Shopping in advance: make a list of healthy choices and stick to it in the store
- Cooking at home: this allows you to control the ingredients and portions of your meal
- Adding more fruits and veggies: these are packed with essential nutrients and low in calories
- Choosing whole foods over processed foods: this will reduce intake of sugars, fats, and sodium
- Being mindful of portion size: large portions can lead to overeating and weight gain
- Drinking plenty of water: this is important to overall health
- Getting enough sleep: lack of sleep can lead to poor food choices and weight gain
- Staying active: helps to control weight and improve overall health
- Getting professional help: working with a nutritionist or naturopath can provide personalized advice and guidance
At TSD we believe it is important for both professionals (architects, interior designers, and contractors) as well as building users (homeowners, business owners, school administration, maintenance personnel, etc.) to understand the problems as well as the potential solutions for creating and maintaining healthy interior spaces. One aspect of creating a healthy space is promoting positive lifestyle choices like healthy dietary choices. This can be achieved through better design, education, and access to better choices.
If you want to know more about making your home or office a safer and healthier environment, reach out to us by email or DM us on Instagram. Also, stay tuned next month when we introduce the fourth WELL concept: Light.
Taleah Smith Design is an interior design studio based in Vancouver, British Columbia. We specialize in interior design that promotes wellness and sustainability. We believe your living space should promote a greater sense of health and wellbeing, and we approach this goal from many difference angles. If you would like to discuss a project, you can reach out to us here.
We also provide resources and consulting for other interior designers looking to integrate wellness and sustainability into their design practices. If you would like to learn more, contact us here.