Internet-based interventions that target individuals and feature financial perks or less intensive approaches could be options to help companies decrease the overall burden of obesity in the workplace, according to research published in Obesity.
“This study demonstrates that an individually targeted Internet-based and a minimal intervention can both lead to improvements in physical activity and dietary behaviors within a worksite setting,” according to the researchers.
Fabio A. Almeida, PhD, MSW, of the department of human nutrition, foods and exercise at Virginia Tech, and colleagues from other institutions randomly assigned 28 worksites to an Internet-based weight-loss program with small monetary incentives or the less intensive Livin’ My Weigh program; both using evidence-based strategies to support weight loss.
Adults older than 18 years with a BMI of at least 25 kg/mg2 were eligible; 1,790 employees (mean age, 47 years; 79% white; 74% women) participated.
In the Internet-based intervention, participants received email messages every day for 12 months. The less intensive intervention was delivered quarterly, through newsletters and on-site education. The researchers used generalized linear mixed models to assess participants’ weight change from baseline to 6 months after program initiation and an intention-to-treat design for their analysis.
On average, participants lost 2.27 lb (P < .001) and reduced their BMI by 0.36 kg/m2
(P < .001) with the Internet-based intervention; similarly, they lost 1.3 lb (P < .01) and reduced their BMI by 0.2 kg/m2 (P < .01) with the minimal intervention. The between-group differences were not statistically significant.
“Future research from this trial should investigate whether these intervention effects remain consistent at the end of the 12-month interventions as well as explore potential maintenance effects and incorporate the costs associated with the programs to help determine the most cost-effective intervention,” the researchers wrote. – by Allegra Tiver
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.