Every year millions of people attend meetings, conferences and other events, often for multiple days, at conference venues around the world[i]. This involves a large amount of time spent sedentary, with limited access to healthy food and places for physical activity. A recent survey of event planners carried out by World Obesity found that some of the challenges faced when planning healthy menus for conferences include low availability and high price of healthy options.

We believe that conference venues and their catering teams have a role to play in promoting the health and well-being of their clients, visitors and employees.

As such, the World Obesity Federation has launched a new Healthy Venues Award which seeks to encourage venues all around the world to support conference organisers, delegates and their staff in making healthier choices and to help minimise the negative health impacts of conference-going, using the opportunity of people stepping outside their routine to nudge them towards healthier choices. 

Those that qualify as Healthy Venues will be promoting healthy eating and increased physical activity, ensuring that they provide the best facilities for their clients and visitors, helping conference organisers to transform their events into healthy and enjoyable experiences for all.

What’s involved in becoming a Healthy Venue?

The Healthy Venue Award is based around three pillars- healthy catering, promoting activity and workplace health – and is awarded at three levels – bronze, silver and gold. After meeting a set of challenging criteria venues are able to label themselves as accredited Healthy Venues.

As part of the Healthy Venue programme World Obesity are also offering tips to event planners enabling them to improve the ‘healthprint’ of their event’s. In Healthy Venues these changes are supported and made easier for the organiser to achieve.

Our Head of Events, Natasha Joyner, sums things up perfectly:

“By becoming a Healthy Venue and promoting healthy eating and increased physical activity you can be sure that you are not only providing the best facilities for your clients and visitors, but that you are also helping to transform the entire conference into a healthy and enjoyable experience. 

With the growing number of events happening, Events Planners are constantly looking for a ways to stand out. With Healthy Venue accreditation, you not only create a unique selling point, but you offer attendees ways of improving their workplace sedentary lifestyle and fulfil CSR requirements”

[i] It has been estimated that in an over average lifetime a 25 - 60 year old spends around 87,562 days at work and a large percentage of this time is spent in meetings, with many of those people attending multiple day conferences on a regular basis.

In a 2011 profile of the meeting industry in the UK it was found that 'More than 1,301,600 meetings took place in the UK, which attracted 116.1 million attendees. More than half of the attendees came to consumer shows and exhibitions; nearly 40% attended conferences.' (http://www.hbaa.org.uk/sites/default/files/MPIF%20UKEIS%20Profile%20Summary.pdf),

In America also, it is estimated that around 225 million people visit conventions, conferences, congresses, trade shows and exhibitions, incentive events and corporate/business meeting every year.