Workplace Wellness Programs Can Reduce Obesity, Study Finds

Researchers worked with nearly 3800 individuals to establish workplace programs that focused on healthy eating and increasing physical activity. At the end of the study period, the number of employees in the control site who were overweight/obese increased by about 5%, while the number in the intervention group had decreased by 4%, resulting in a net difference of 9%.

American Journal of Public Health

A new study shows that workplace wellness programs can be effective in helping people lose weight by providing healthier food choices and increasing opportunities for physical activity, particularly if these efforts are designed with the input and active participation of employees. The two-year project - the results of which appear in the - successfully reduced the number or people considered overweight or obese by almost 9%.

"Worksites are self-contained environments with established communication systems where interventions that modify food options and provide physical activity have the potential to reach large numbers of adults," said Diana Fernandez, MD, MPH, PhD, an associate professor in the University of Rochester Department of Public Health Sciences and lead author of the study. "This study shows in particular that when employees are empowered to help shape wellness programs, these programs appear to result in meaningful improvements in health."

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