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Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2012 Feb 16;9:14. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-9-14.

HealthWorks: results of a multi-component group-randomized worksite environmental intervention trial for weight gain prevention.

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  • 1Division of Epidemiology & Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA.



U.S. adults are at unprecedented risk of becoming overweight or obese, and most scientists believe the primary cause is an obesogenic environment. Worksites provide an opportunity to shape the environments of adults to reduce obesity risk. The goal of this group-randomized trial was to implement a four-component environmental intervention at the worksite level to positively influence weight gain among employees over a two-year period. Environmental components focused on food availability and price, physical activity promotion, scale access, and media enhancements.


Six worksites in a U.S. metropolitan area were recruited and randomized in pairs at the worksite level to either a two-year intervention or a no-contact control. Evaluations at baseline and two years included: 1) measured height and weight; 2) online surveys of individual dietary intake and physical activity behaviors; and 3) detailed worksite environment assessment.


Mean participant age was 42.9 years (range 18-75), 62.6% were women, 68.5% were married or cohabiting, 88.6% were white, 2.1% Hispanic. Mean baseline BMI was 28.5 kg/m(2) (range 16.9-61.2 kg/m(2)). A majority of intervention components were successfully implemented. However, there were no differences between sites in the key outcome of weight change over the two-year study period (p = .36).


Body mass was not significantly affected by environmental changes implemented for the trial. Results raise questions about whether environmental change at worksites is sufficient for population weight gain prevention.


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