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Public Health Nutr. 2004 Feb;7(1):53-61.

Having lunch at a staff canteen is associated with recommended food habits.

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Department of Public Health, PO Box 41, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland.



To describe the characteristics of employees having lunch at staff canteens and to examine the association between workplace lunch and recommended food habits.


A mailed questionnaire including data on lunch pattern, food habits, sociodemographic background, work-related factors and body weight. Logistic regression models including food habits as dependent variables and lunch pattern, sociodemographic factors, work-related factors and body mass index as independent variables.


Helsinki Health Study survey data, collected in spring 2001.


Employees from the City of Helsinki reaching 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60 years. The data included 2474 women and 591 men; the response rate was 68%.


About half of those with a staff canteen at work had lunch there. Those with higher educational level were more likely to have lunch at the staff canteen, as also were women with pre-school children and normal-weight men. Those having lunch at staff canteens were more likely to follow recommended food habits, compared with other subjects. Having lunch at the staff canteen seemed to increase the consumption frequency of vegetables and fish.


Having lunch at staff canteens is associated with the quality of the diet. To serve a cooked meal including vegetables during working time may be an efficient way to improve diet among adult employees. More emphasis should be put on increasing the possibility for employees to have lunch at staff canteens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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