Do You Want Some Sauce on That? Factors Influencing Dietary Habits among the Irish Construction Workforce: A Case Study Review

Jack Kenny*, Michael Curran, John Spillane, Tara Brooks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Abstract

The health, safety and well-being of the construction industry workforce has received increased attention in recent years, particularly when considering productivity on-site. However, one area that has often been neglected in construction health-related research is nutrition and diet, especially the factors influencing dietary habits. In Ireland, eating habits and lifestyle choices are changing, but when coupled with organisational factors, an unhealthy culture among construction industry operatives remains. Therefore, this study aims to identify and analyse the factors that influence dietary habits among on-site construction workers in Ireland, and document the effects, if any, diet has on their well-being and productivity. The research method undertaken is qualitatively based, encompassing ten semi-structured individual interviews with construction workers on two case study projects located throughout Ireland. Five main themes that influence dietary habits were identified: a lack of education when considering diet; time management when eating before and during working hours; peer pressure and being influenced what to eat by others; a poor
standard and lack of eating facilities on-site; and the cost of food. Also, findings
highlighted strategies that can be implemented to improve dietary habits, such as training and educational programmes to increase awareness of the health benefits of a balanced diet and lifestyle; improved eating facilities on-site; and employers providing subsidised nutritional meals. Overall, the key contribution of this research illustrates that many factors influence the dietary habits of Irish construction workers on-site, and with appropriate opportunities and suitable training, productivity can be increased, and the health and well-being of the workforce can be maintained, on construction sites in Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication37th Annual Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM) Conference: Proceedings
PublisherARCOM
Pages229 - 238
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 06 Sep 2021

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