Academic research

<p>We have selected some of the strongest academic research regarding interventions to support employees with managing obesity at work and provided summaries below.  All studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals and are presented under three headings: Comparative Reviews, Organisational Interventions and Individual Interventions.  At the time of this review there were no interventions at the manager level.</p> <p> </p> <p>This topic does not include health promotion interventions or physical activity interventions at work.  That said, the health promotion and physical activity at work literature is useful to consider alongside the obesity at work literature and will be able to be found under the topics health promotion and physical activity, when these are populated.</p>
PRINT
Author: Weerasekara, Roberts, Kahn, LaVertu, Hoffman & Das

Effectiveness of workplace weight management interventions: A systematic review (2016)

Effectiveness of workplace weight management interventions: A systematic review (2016)

This systematic review examined 23 studies that involved long term (more than 6 months) interventions.  Most of the interventions provided counseling or material about nutrition.  The findings showed a range of results, some interventions resulted in clinical weight loss but in others the control group lost more, consequently it was not possible to identify the elements of interventions that made them successful.  The majority of the studies were multi-component and included both dietary and physical activity elements in addition to behavioural support in some.  The most recent studies tended to be the most effective, and the results suggested that 6-12 months studies were most effective.

 

The authors concluded that because effective interventions were found in workplaces in a number of different areas of the world, workplaces generally are good prospective environments for addressing obesity, once best practice is established. 

Author: Power, Kiezebrink, Allan & Campbell

Effects of workplace-based dietary and/or physical activity interventions for weight management targeting healthcare professionals: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials (2014)

Effects of workplace-based dietary and/or physical activity interventions for weight management targeting healthcare professionals: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials (2014)

This systematic review of 13 studies found that 9 of the studies showed a significant difference in either physical activity, dietary or weight-related outcomes.  Interventions that included both a physical activity and a dietary element showed the greatest decrease in body weight.  However, it was not possible to identify what distinguished successful and unsuccessful interventions.  Pooled results from 5 studies demonstrated a greater decrease in body weight (in follow up under 12 months) amongst those who received an intervention (diet, physical activity or both) when compared to the control group.  Studies that discuss the theoretical development of the intervention are beneficial in understanding the mechanism of behaviour change and it  has previously been proposed that interventions underpinned by theory are likely to be more effective.  This review found that many of the studies did not report the theoretical development of the intervention.  Although some differences in effectiveness were found between interventions that had a theoretical basis and those that didn’t, which was impacted by the type of outcome (e.g. weight vs. physical activity) there was not enough data to conduct a formal comparison. 

Author: Anderson, Quinn, Glanz, Ramirez, Kahwati, Johnson, Buchanan, Archer, Chattopadhyay, Kalra, Katz & Task Force on Community Preventive

The effectiveness of worksite nutrition and physical activity interventions for controlling employee overweight and obesity: A systematic review (2009)

The effectiveness of worksite nutrition and physical activity interventions for controlling employee overweight and obesity: A systematic review (2009)

This meta-analysis of 9 randomised controlled trials showed at 6-12 months follow up there was a net decrease of 2.8 pounds.  Similar to other reviews, it was not possible to see which intervention components (behavioural skills, environmental, information and policy) and which specific programmes (nutrition and physical activity) made the intervention successful.  However, interventions that were more intensive showed more of an effect, for example providing structured programmes and providing both behavioural support and information.  It was also not possible to identify if the programmes differed in effectiveness on those who were overweight or obese (i.e. most at risk).  The economic efficiency of such interventions is also discussed, however it was not possible to draw firm conclusions as further studies are needed.

Author: Verweij, Coffeng, Mechelen & Proper

Meta-analyses of workplace physical activity and dietary behaviour interventions on weight outcomes (2011)

Meta-analyses of workplace physical activity and dietary behaviour interventions on weight outcomes (2011)

This was a meta-analysis of 22 studies.  The findings showed moderate quality of evidence that interventions that combine physical activity and dietary behavior result in a significant decrease in body weight, BMI and body fat percentage.  There were not enough studies to examine dietary behaviour interventions.  There was low quality evidence that physical activity interventions resulted in a significant decrease in body weight and BMI.  Interventions that were a combination of physical activity, dietary behaviour and an environmental component (e.g. walking maps, family involvement, point-of-choice messages – signs that interrupt habitual behaviour, such as signs near lifts and stairs to encourage individuals to use the stairs) were more effective than those without an environmental component.  The authors concluded that there is moderate quality evidence that physical activity and dietary behaviour interventions have a significant effect on body weight. The results suggest that when implementing interventions, environmental components should be combined with physical and/or dietary components.

Author: Archer, Batan, Buchanan, Soler, Ramsey, Kirchhofer & Reyes

Promising practices for the prevention and control of obesity in the worksite (2011)

Promising practices for the prevention and control of obesity in the worksite (2011)

This systematic review examined 136 studies to identify promising practices used by employers to help employees reduce a weight related outcome.  A promising practice was defined as a programme/intervention that has evidence to support its implementation within the workplace; this was affected by the number of studies that have examined it, design strength and the size and consistency of the effects on weight-related outcomes.

 

Programmes were categorised into three strategies: environmental and policy, educational and behavioural and six practices were identified. Environmental and policy strategies are implemented within physical or organisational elements of the workplace – within this a promising practice identified was enhanced access to physical activity and health education e.g. building a fitness centre at the workplace.  Informational and educational strategies aim to increase knowledge or awareness prior to behaviour change – within this strategy, a promising practice was exercise programmes and multi component educational practices e.g. health, exercise, nutrition and a pamphlet.  Behavioural strategies focus on teaching behavioural change and providing support to help maintain weight loss – within this strategy, promising practices were weight loss competitions and incentives and behavioural practices with incentives (e.g. financial incentives) or behavioural practices without incentives (e.g. teaching behavioral practices with feedback and support). When designing programmes it is important to remember that they should always be designed with employee needs and preferences in mind. 

Author: Morgan, Collins, Plotnikoff, Cook, Berthon, Mitchell & Callister

Efficacy of a workplace-based weight loss program for overweight male shift workers: The Workplace POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit) randomized controlled trial (2011)

Efficacy of a workplace-based weight loss program for overweight male shift workers: The Workplace POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit) randomized controlled trial (2011)

 

110 overweight/obese male employees were randomly allocated to a control or intervention group. The intervention was 3 months long, based on Bandura’s social cognitive theory and was made up of different elements: an information session, a study website, resources (e.g. weight loss handbook, pedometer) and group based financial incentives. 

 

At the 14 week follow up there was a significant difference in mean weight loss, 4.3kg. between the groups.  There was also a significant effect of the intervention on weight, systolic blood pressure, waist circumference, resting heart rate, physical activity behaviour and some physical activity cognitions.  Results at follow up also showed that there were significantly more men in the intervention group that had lost more than 5% of their baseline weight than those in the control group. The findings show this intervention amongst an at-risk population, overweight men, resulted in weight loss of clinical importance.

Author: Kullgren, Troxel, Loewenstein, Asch, Norton, Wesby, Tao, Zhu & Volpp

Individual vs. Group-based incentives for weight loss: A randomized, controlled trial (2013)

Individual vs. Group-based incentives for weight loss: A randomized, controlled trial (2013)

104 obese employees aimed to lose 1 pound a week and were randomly allocated to a control group, an individual financial incentive group or a group financial incentive group. Participants in the individual financial incentive group were rewarded $100 on a 4 weekly basis if they met or exceeded their weekly target weight loss.  In the group incentive group, each consisting of five employees, the amount ($500, $100 per person) was split among employees who weighed less than or the same as the monthly target weight.

 

At 24 weeks, there was a significant difference in weight loss between those in the group intervention and those in the control group and also between those in the group intervention and those in the individual intervention, in both comparisons those in the group intervention lost more.  They also displayed a higher amount of cognitive restraint (intention to control food intake to help weight loss) than both the control group and individual group, which may play a key role in obesity management. At 36 weeks, there was also a significant difference in weight loss between the group intervention employees and those in the control group. The findings suggest modifying different elements of the incentive design can result in key differences in efficacy of weight loss.

Author: Barber, Hillier, Middleton, Keegan, Henderson & Lavin

Providing weight management via the workplace (2015)

Providing weight management via the workplace (2015)

Slimming World is a multi-component behaviour change support programme which has met NICE’S “best practice” criteria for weight management services.  In this quasi-experimental study, 231 employees chose between attending Slimming World either within the workplace or a standard community-based programme for 12 weeks.

 

There was a significant difference in baseline weight and end weight, however there was no significant difference between the community group and workplace group.  Positive impacts on secondary outcomes were also observed, e.g. mental and emotional health and healthy dietary habits increased from baseline to 12 weeks, and unhealthy physical activity decreased from baseline to 12 months, however healthy physical activity only increased from baseline to six months, self-worth also increased from baseline to 12 months.  At 12 weeks, 6 months and 12 months there were also less reports from employees that their health impacted their work, social life and daily activities.  Most of the employees found the plan easy or very easy to follow and 60 employees became paying members of Slimming World after 12 weeks.   Results suggest Slimming World is an effective intervention for weight loss within both the workplace and the community. 

Author: Ross & Wing

Implementation of an internet weight loss program in a worksite setting (2016)

Implementation of an internet weight loss program in a worksite setting (2016)

75 overweight or obese employees were provided with an internet based multicomponent behavioural weight loss programme. The programme was for 3 months but between 3-6 months employees were advised to self-monitor.

 

At 3 months, 60% of these employees had lost more than 5% of their baseline weight, which is clinically significant, more than half still showed clinically significant weight loss at 6 months.  There was no difference in weight loss between obese individuals and overweight individuals.  Men lost significantly more weight than women and there was also an association with education, those who had a college degree or higher lost more than those who didn’t have a college degree.  There was an association between viewing the lessons online and self-reporting weight, the more videos watched and the more times weight was reported the greater the weight loss.  This suggests that a low intensity, multicomponent internet programme can have a positive impact and results suggest there is potential for this to be applied in other workplaces.

Author: Carpenter, Lovejoy, Lange, Hapgood & Zbikowski

Outcomes and utilization of a low intensity workplace weight loss program (2014)

Outcomes and utilization of a low intensity workplace weight loss program (2014)

This study examined an employer sponsored low intensity phone and internet based weight loss programme. 473 employees had data at 6 and 12 months follow up.  There were phone based counseling sessions and coaching sessions, there was also a website which had eLearning modules and an online support group. Participants were also given a guidebook, pedometer, tape measure and food journal.

 

At 6 months 34% lost at least 5% of their baseline weight and 11% lost at least 10%.  At 12 months, 39% lost at least 5% of their baseline weight and 16% lost at least 10%.  Decreases in blood pressure were also seen amongst those with blood pressure measures. Increases in fruit and vegetable eating and physical activity and decreases in stress were also reported amongst some employees.  The weight tracking tool was the strongest predictor of weight loss. However, decreasing stress, consuming more fruit and vegetable and increasing physical activity were also predictors of clinically significant weight loss.  This study suggests that a low intensity weight loss programme can result in clinically significant weight loss, even if employees do not lose weight the increases in health behaviour such as eating more fruit and vegetable can also be beneficial.

Author: Tabak, Hipp, Marx & Brownson

Workplace social and organisational environments and healthy-weight behaviours (2015)

Workplace social and organisational environments and healthy-weight behaviours (2015)

This study conducted a survey to investigate workplace social environment, cultural factors, diet, physical activity behaviours and obesity.  Examining the findings that related specifically to obesity – lower income employees were more likely to be obese than higher income employees and obesity rates were highest amongst those who reported their race as Black or African-American.  Additionally, findings suggested that employees that felt that their company valued their health tended to report obesity-preventive behaviours e.g. behaviours that increase health and wellbeing.

 

Findings suggest that the social/organisational characteristics of the workplace environment may be associated with nutrition and physical activity behaviours and obesity.   These characteristics were especially associated with feeling the company valued the employee’s health and watching colleagues demonstrate these healthy behaviours.  The authors concluded that positive employee benefits could result from increasing the prominence of healthy behaviours, e.g. positively emphasising employee participation. The results also suggest that policy changes such as only providing healthy foods at workplace-sponsored events may have beneficial results.

 

However, the authors were not able to determine whether perceived organisational support for employee health results in lower employee BMI or whether those with lower BMIs are attracted to those type of workplaces.

Author: Fernandez, Chin, Devine, Dozier, Martina, McIntosh, Thevenet-Morrison & Yang

Images of a Healthy Worksite: A group-randomized trial for worksite weight gain prevention with employee participation in intervention design (2015)

Images of a Healthy Worksite: A group-randomized trial for worksite weight gain prevention with employee participation in intervention design (2015)

This study examined the impact of an environmental intervention targeting diet and physical activity on employees’ mean BMI.  Employee advisory boards helped to develop the intervention at each worksite and intervention strategies included: awareness workshops, stickers on vending machines, outdoor power walks, newsletters and signs promoting stairway use.  The intervention aimed to use social marketing to show the interaction between the workplace interventions and the positive health benefits of such lifestyle changes.

 

There was a significant decrease in BMI at worksites with interventions and the percentage of overweight and obese employees decreased significantly.  It is proposed that the employee advisory boards may have played a key role.   The authors concluded that worksite environmental interventions may be good for helping to manage weight which consequently could impact on the prevalence of overweight and obesity at a community level.

Author: Fernandez, Becerra & Chin

Worksite Environmental Interventions for Obesity Prevention and Control: Evidence from Group Randomized Trials (2014)

Worksite Environmental Interventions for Obesity Prevention and Control: Evidence from Group Randomized Trials (2014)

This literature review examined 8 studies.  Changes were made to the food and physical activity environment, some studies also included policy changes and individual level elements.  Changes to the food environment included providing more low energy and higher nutrient foods in cafeterias and vending machines and changes to the physical activity environment included providing fitness classes, promoting stair use and organising team walking competitions.

 

The interventions ranged from 6 months to 2 years.  Four out of six intervention studies that changed the physical activity and nutrition environment showed a decrease in BMI in the intervention group and in two of these studies the control group BMI also increased. One study that changed the physical activity environment and also implemented a policy change showed a decrease in BMI in the intervention site and an increase in the control group BMI.

 

The authors concluded that overall, evidence about the effectiveness of environmental interventions has low risk of bias. Amongst such studies the effect was modest, however it may be that the real effect of such interventions is weak because environmental changes are small changes available to all employees but crucially not all employees choose to accept the changes. Additionally, there are other factors that impact on employees outside the workplace, for example family influences.

Author: Blackford, Jancey, Howat, Ledger & Lee

Office-Based Physical Activity and Nutrition Intervention: Barriers, Enablers, and Preferred Strategies for Workplace Obesity Prevention, Perth, Western Australia, (2012)

Office-Based Physical Activity and Nutrition Intervention: Barriers, Enablers, and Preferred Strategies for Workplace Obesity Prevention, Perth, Western Australia, (2012)

137 office employees from 55 organisations based in Perth, Australia completed a survey. The study aimed to distinguish interventions and barriers and enablers of physical activity and nutrition for work based health promotion.  The most frequently reported physical activity barriers were “too tired” and “work commitments/long hours” and the most frequently reported enablers were “enjoy physical activity” and “health benefits.”  For nutrition barriers the most frequently reported were “unhealthy food available in office” and “lack of healthy options near office.”  The most frequently reported enablers were “food prepared at home” and “nutrition knowledge.”  The preferred activities for physical activity were “stretching programme at desk” and “group classes (e.g. yoga).”  The preferred activities for nutrition were “personalised dietary progammes” and “cooking demonstrations.” Preferred materials and resources and policy/environmental supports for both physical activity and nutrition were also examined.  The preferred programme delivery methods were “email” and “web based/ internet,” the least popular were “telephone” and “mail”.

 

The authors concluded that it is important to recognise different preferences when designing individual, organisational and policy interventions.  These results can be used to help design evidence-based workplace health promotion programmes that take into account the individual, environmental and policy influences.

Sort By Relevance
Sort By Date Published
Author: Weerasekara, Roberts, Kahn, LaVertu, Hoffman & Das

Effectiveness of workplace weight management interventions: A systematic review (2016)

Effectiveness of workplace weight management interventions: A systematic review (2016)

This systematic review examined 23 studies that involved long term (more than 6 months) interventions.  Most of the interventions provided counseling or material about nutrition.  The findings showed a range of results, some interventions resulted in clinical weight loss but in others the control group lost more, consequently it was not possible to identify the elements of interventions that made them successful.  The majority of the studies were multi-component and included both dietary and physical activity elements in addition to behavioural support in some.  The most recent studies tended to be the most effective, and the results suggested that 6-12 months studies were most effective.

 

The authors concluded that because effective interventions were found in workplaces in a number of different areas of the world, workplaces generally are good prospective environments for addressing obesity, once best practice is established. 

Author: Weerasekara, Roberts, Kahn, LaVertu, Hoffman & Das

Effectiveness of workplace weight management interventions: A systematic review (2016)

This systematic review examined 23 studies that involved long term (more than 6 months) interventions.  Most of the interventions provided counseling or material about nutrition.  The findings showed a range of results, some interventions resulted in clinical weight loss but in others the control group lost more, consequently it was not possible to identify the elements of interventions that made them successful.  The majority of the studies were multi-component and included both dietary and physical activity elements in addition to behavioural support in some.  The most recent studies tended to be the most effective, and the results suggested that 6-12 months studies were most effective.

 

The authors concluded that because effective interventions were found in workplaces in a number of different areas of the world, workplaces generally are good prospective environments for addressing obesity, once best practice is established. 

x
Author: Power, Kiezebrink, Allan & Campbell

Effects of workplace-based dietary and/or physical activity interventions for weight management targeting healthcare professionals: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials (2014)

Effects of workplace-based dietary and/or physical activity interventions for weight management targeting healthcare professionals: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials (2014)

This systematic review of 13 studies found that 9 of the studies showed a significant difference in either physical activity, dietary or weight-related outcomes.  Interventions that included both a physical activity and a dietary element showed the greatest decrease in body weight.  However, it was not possible to identify what distinguished successful and unsuccessful interventions.  Pooled results from 5 studies demonstrated a greater decrease in body weight (in follow up under 12 months) amongst those who received an intervention (diet, physical activity or both) when compared to the control group.  Studies that discuss the theoretical development of the intervention are beneficial in understanding the mechanism of behaviour change and it  has previously been proposed that interventions underpinned by theory are likely to be more effective.  This review found that many of the studies did not report the theoretical development of the intervention.  Although some differences in effectiveness were found between interventions that had a theoretical basis and those that didn’t, which was impacted by the type of outcome (e.g. weight vs. physical activity) there was not enough data to conduct a formal comparison. 

Author: Power, Kiezebrink, Allan & Campbell

Effects of workplace-based dietary and/or physical activity interventions for weight management targeting healthcare professionals: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials (2014)

This systematic review of 13 studies found that 9 of the studies showed a significant difference in either physical activity, dietary or weight-related outcomes.  Interventions that included both a physical activity and a dietary element showed the greatest decrease in body weight.  However, it was not possible to identify what distinguished successful and unsuccessful interventions.  Pooled results from 5 studies demonstrated a greater decrease in body weight (in follow up under 12 months) amongst those who received an intervention (diet, physical activity or both) when compared to the control group.  Studies that discuss the theoretical development of the intervention are beneficial in understanding the mechanism of behaviour change and it  has previously been proposed that interventions underpinned by theory are likely to be more effective.  This review found that many of the studies did not report the theoretical development of the intervention.  Although some differences in effectiveness were found between interventions that had a theoretical basis and those that didn’t, which was impacted by the type of outcome (e.g. weight vs. physical activity) there was not enough data to conduct a formal comparison. 

x
Author: Anderson, Quinn, Glanz, Ramirez, Kahwati, Johnson, Buchanan, Archer, Chattopadhyay, Kalra, Katz & Task Force on Community Preventive

The effectiveness of worksite nutrition and physical activity interventions for controlling employee overweight and obesity: A systematic review (2009)

The effectiveness of worksite nutrition and physical activity interventions for controlling employee overweight and obesity: A systematic review (2009)

This meta-analysis of 9 randomised controlled trials showed at 6-12 months follow up there was a net decrease of 2.8 pounds.  Similar to other reviews, it was not possible to see which intervention components (behavioural skills, environmental, information and policy) and which specific programmes (nutrition and physical activity) made the intervention successful.  However, interventions that were more intensive showed more of an effect, for example providing structured programmes and providing both behavioural support and information.  It was also not possible to identify if the programmes differed in effectiveness on those who were overweight or obese (i.e. most at risk).  The economic efficiency of such interventions is also discussed, however it was not possible to draw firm conclusions as further studies are needed.

Author: Anderson, Quinn, Glanz, Ramirez, Kahwati, Johnson, Buchanan, Archer, Chattopadhyay, Kalra, Katz & Task Force on Community Preventive

The effectiveness of worksite nutrition and physical activity interventions for controlling employee overweight and obesity: A systematic review (2009)

This meta-analysis of 9 randomised controlled trials showed at 6-12 months follow up there was a net decrease of 2.8 pounds.  Similar to other reviews, it was not possible to see which intervention components (behavioural skills, environmental, information and policy) and which specific programmes (nutrition and physical activity) made the intervention successful.  However, interventions that were more intensive showed more of an effect, for example providing structured programmes and providing both behavioural support and information.  It was also not possible to identify if the programmes differed in effectiveness on those who were overweight or obese (i.e. most at risk).  The economic efficiency of such interventions is also discussed, however it was not possible to draw firm conclusions as further studies are needed.

x
Author: Verweij, Coffeng, Mechelen & Proper

Meta-analyses of workplace physical activity and dietary behaviour interventions on weight outcomes (2011)

Meta-analyses of workplace physical activity and dietary behaviour interventions on weight outcomes (2011)

This was a meta-analysis of 22 studies.  The findings showed moderate quality of evidence that interventions that combine physical activity and dietary behavior result in a significant decrease in body weight, BMI and body fat percentage.  There were not enough studies to examine dietary behaviour interventions.  There was low quality evidence that physical activity interventions resulted in a significant decrease in body weight and BMI.  Interventions that were a combination of physical activity, dietary behaviour and an environmental component (e.g. walking maps, family involvement, point-of-choice messages – signs that interrupt habitual behaviour, such as signs near lifts and stairs to encourage individuals to use the stairs) were more effective than those without an environmental component.  The authors concluded that there is moderate quality evidence that physical activity and dietary behaviour interventions have a significant effect on body weight. The results suggest that when implementing interventions, environmental components should be combined with physical and/or dietary components.

Author: Verweij, Coffeng, Mechelen & Proper

Meta-analyses of workplace physical activity and dietary behaviour interventions on weight outcomes (2011)

This was a meta-analysis of 22 studies.  The findings showed moderate quality of evidence that interventions that combine physical activity and dietary behavior result in a significant decrease in body weight, BMI and body fat percentage.  There were not enough studies to examine dietary behaviour interventions.  There was low quality evidence that physical activity interventions resulted in a significant decrease in body weight and BMI.  Interventions that were a combination of physical activity, dietary behaviour and an environmental component (e.g. walking maps, family involvement, point-of-choice messages – signs that interrupt habitual behaviour, such as signs near lifts and stairs to encourage individuals to use the stairs) were more effective than those without an environmental component.  The authors concluded that there is moderate quality evidence that physical activity and dietary behaviour interventions have a significant effect on body weight. The results suggest that when implementing interventions, environmental components should be combined with physical and/or dietary components.

x
Author: Archer, Batan, Buchanan, Soler, Ramsey, Kirchhofer & Reyes

Promising practices for the prevention and control of obesity in the worksite (2011)

Promising practices for the prevention and control of obesity in the worksite (2011)

This systematic review examined 136 studies to identify promising practices used by employers to help employees reduce a weight related outcome.  A promising practice was defined as a programme/intervention that has evidence to support its implementation within the workplace; this was affected by the number of studies that have examined it, design strength and the size and consistency of the effects on weight-related outcomes.

 

Programmes were categorised into three strategies: environmental and policy, educational and behavioural and six practices were identified. Environmental and policy strategies are implemented within physical or organisational elements of the workplace – within this a promising practice identified was enhanced access to physical activity and health education e.g. building a fitness centre at the workplace.  Informational and educational strategies aim to increase knowledge or awareness prior to behaviour change – within this strategy, a promising practice was exercise programmes and multi component educational practices e.g. health, exercise, nutrition and a pamphlet.  Behavioural strategies focus on teaching behavioural change and providing support to help maintain weight loss – within this strategy, promising practices were weight loss competitions and incentives and behavioural practices with incentives (e.g. financial incentives) or behavioural practices without incentives (e.g. teaching behavioral practices with feedback and support). When designing programmes it is important to remember that they should always be designed with employee needs and preferences in mind. 

Author: Archer, Batan, Buchanan, Soler, Ramsey, Kirchhofer & Reyes

Promising practices for the prevention and control of obesity in the worksite (2011)

This systematic review examined 136 studies to identify promising practices used by employers to help employees reduce a weight related outcome.  A promising practice was defined as a programme/intervention that has evidence to support its implementation within the workplace; this was affected by the number of studies that have examined it, design strength and the size and consistency of the effects on weight-related outcomes.

 

Programmes were categorised into three strategies: environmental and policy, educational and behavioural and six practices were identified. Environmental and policy strategies are implemented within physical or organisational elements of the workplace – within this a promising practice identified was enhanced access to physical activity and health education e.g. building a fitness centre at the workplace.  Informational and educational strategies aim to increase knowledge or awareness prior to behaviour change – within this strategy, a promising practice was exercise programmes and multi component educational practices e.g. health, exercise, nutrition and a pamphlet.  Behavioural strategies focus on teaching behavioural change and providing support to help maintain weight loss – within this strategy, promising practices were weight loss competitions and incentives and behavioural practices with incentives (e.g. financial incentives) or behavioural practices without incentives (e.g. teaching behavioral practices with feedback and support). When designing programmes it is important to remember that they should always be designed with employee needs and preferences in mind. 

x
Author: Morgan, Collins, Plotnikoff, Cook, Berthon, Mitchell & Callister

Efficacy of a workplace-based weight loss program for overweight male shift workers: The Workplace POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit) randomized controlled trial (2011)

Efficacy of a workplace-based weight loss program for overweight male shift workers: The Workplace POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit) randomized controlled trial (2011)

 

110 overweight/obese male employees were randomly allocated to a control or intervention group. The intervention was 3 months long, based on Bandura’s social cognitive theory and was made up of different elements: an information session, a study website, resources (e.g. weight loss handbook, pedometer) and group based financial incentives. 

 

At the 14 week follow up there was a significant difference in mean weight loss, 4.3kg. between the groups.  There was also a significant effect of the intervention on weight, systolic blood pressure, waist circumference, resting heart rate, physical activity behaviour and some physical activity cognitions.  Results at follow up also showed that there were significantly more men in the intervention group that had lost more than 5% of their baseline weight than those in the control group. The findings show this intervention amongst an at-risk population, overweight men, resulted in weight loss of clinical importance.

Author: Morgan, Collins, Plotnikoff, Cook, Berthon, Mitchell & Callister

Efficacy of a workplace-based weight loss program for overweight male shift workers: The Workplace POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit) randomized controlled trial (2011)

 

110 overweight/obese male employees were randomly allocated to a control or intervention group. The intervention was 3 months long, based on Bandura’s social cognitive theory and was made up of different elements: an information session, a study website, resources (e.g. weight loss handbook, pedometer) and group based financial incentives. 

 

At the 14 week follow up there was a significant difference in mean weight loss, 4.3kg. between the groups.  There was also a significant effect of the intervention on weight, systolic blood pressure, waist circumference, resting heart rate, physical activity behaviour and some physical activity cognitions.  Results at follow up also showed that there were significantly more men in the intervention group that had lost more than 5% of their baseline weight than those in the control group. The findings show this intervention amongst an at-risk population, overweight men, resulted in weight loss of clinical importance.

x
Author: Kullgren, Troxel, Loewenstein, Asch, Norton, Wesby, Tao, Zhu & Volpp

Individual vs. Group-based incentives for weight loss: A randomized, controlled trial (2013)

Individual vs. Group-based incentives for weight loss: A randomized, controlled trial (2013)

104 obese employees aimed to lose 1 pound a week and were randomly allocated to a control group, an individual financial incentive group or a group financial incentive group. Participants in the individual financial incentive group were rewarded $100 on a 4 weekly basis if they met or exceeded their weekly target weight loss.  In the group incentive group, each consisting of five employees, the amount ($500, $100 per person) was split among employees who weighed less than or the same as the monthly target weight.

 

At 24 weeks, there was a significant difference in weight loss between those in the group intervention and those in the control group and also between those in the group intervention and those in the individual intervention, in both comparisons those in the group intervention lost more.  They also displayed a higher amount of cognitive restraint (intention to control food intake to help weight loss) than both the control group and individual group, which may play a key role in obesity management. At 36 weeks, there was also a significant difference in weight loss between the group intervention employees and those in the control group. The findings suggest modifying different elements of the incentive design can result in key differences in efficacy of weight loss.

Author: Kullgren, Troxel, Loewenstein, Asch, Norton, Wesby, Tao, Zhu & Volpp

Individual vs. Group-based incentives for weight loss: A randomized, controlled trial (2013)

104 obese employees aimed to lose 1 pound a week and were randomly allocated to a control group, an individual financial incentive group or a group financial incentive group. Participants in the individual financial incentive group were rewarded $100 on a 4 weekly basis if they met or exceeded their weekly target weight loss.  In the group incentive group, each consisting of five employees, the amount ($500, $100 per person) was split among employees who weighed less than or the same as the monthly target weight.

 

At 24 weeks, there was a significant difference in weight loss between those in the group intervention and those in the control group and also between those in the group intervention and those in the individual intervention, in both comparisons those in the group intervention lost more.  They also displayed a higher amount of cognitive restraint (intention to control food intake to help weight loss) than both the control group and individual group, which may play a key role in obesity management. At 36 weeks, there was also a significant difference in weight loss between the group intervention employees and those in the control group. The findings suggest modifying different elements of the incentive design can result in key differences in efficacy of weight loss.

x
Author: Barber, Hillier, Middleton, Keegan, Henderson & Lavin

Providing weight management via the workplace (2015)

Providing weight management via the workplace (2015)

Slimming World is a multi-component behaviour change support programme which has met NICE’S “best practice” criteria for weight management services.  In this quasi-experimental study, 231 employees chose between attending Slimming World either within the workplace or a standard community-based programme for 12 weeks.

 

There was a significant difference in baseline weight and end weight, however there was no significant difference between the community group and workplace group.  Positive impacts on secondary outcomes were also observed, e.g. mental and emotional health and healthy dietary habits increased from baseline to 12 weeks, and unhealthy physical activity decreased from baseline to 12 months, however healthy physical activity only increased from baseline to six months, self-worth also increased from baseline to 12 months.  At 12 weeks, 6 months and 12 months there were also less reports from employees that their health impacted their work, social life and daily activities.  Most of the employees found the plan easy or very easy to follow and 60 employees became paying members of Slimming World after 12 weeks.   Results suggest Slimming World is an effective intervention for weight loss within both the workplace and the community. 

Author: Barber, Hillier, Middleton, Keegan, Henderson & Lavin

Providing weight management via the workplace (2015)

Slimming World is a multi-component behaviour change support programme which has met NICE’S “best practice” criteria for weight management services.  In this quasi-experimental study, 231 employees chose between attending Slimming World either within the workplace or a standard community-based programme for 12 weeks.

 

There was a significant difference in baseline weight and end weight, however there was no significant difference between the community group and workplace group.  Positive impacts on secondary outcomes were also observed, e.g. mental and emotional health and healthy dietary habits increased from baseline to 12 weeks, and unhealthy physical activity decreased from baseline to 12 months, however healthy physical activity only increased from baseline to six months, self-worth also increased from baseline to 12 months.  At 12 weeks, 6 months and 12 months there were also less reports from employees that their health impacted their work, social life and daily activities.  Most of the employees found the plan easy or very easy to follow and 60 employees became paying members of Slimming World after 12 weeks.   Results suggest Slimming World is an effective intervention for weight loss within both the workplace and the community. 

x

Have we missed evidence or a topic?

ADD NEW EVIDENCE OR TOOL

If you would like to be informed via email when new information is added to the Hub

We aim to update all the evidence and tools in the Hub on a regular basis in order to ensure that the Hub remains the essential resource for evidence-based practitioners. If you would like to be informed via email when new information is added to the Hub, please complete the form below. Please note, we will not pass your information on to any third parties and will only use this information to contact you about the Hub.

Type of stakeholder
I'm none of those Show more options
ALL TOPICS
Stress
Leadership/Management
Common Mental Health Problems
Workplace Design for health
Mental Health Discrimination
Mindfulness in the workplace
Obesity
Resilience
Burnout
Engagement
Chronic illness
Return to work following mental health sickness absence
Menopause
Technology and wellbeing
Cancer
Wellbeing
Musculo-skeletal disorders
You are now subscribed to our newsletter on selected topics

What do you think of the Hub?





NEXT
BACK
NEXT

Type of stakeholder
I'm none of those Show more options
BACK
SUBMIT

Thank you for your feedback

Affinity Health at Work