Worksite-based Settings

Given that most adults spend many of their waking hours at work, worksites are seen as a potentially useful place to encourage employees to purchase and eat nutritious foods. Worksites may include interventions focused on the individual, the physical environment (e.g., availability of fruits and vegetables at an on-site cafeteria), and/or changes in policies to support access (e.g., reduced costs for nutritious foods). Some programs and policies have been offered by management, while others have been developed jointly through labor/management negotiations. There are also interventions that have been developed to build support for employees and their families (e.g., education about nutritious food preparation).

For example, you might choose to install an on-site cafeteria, develop point-of-purchase signs or bring in health educators to inform employees about nutritious foods. In developing your intervention, it is important to consider the feasibility of engaging in these various strategies and to consider alternatives as appropriate. For example, many small businesses find it useful, and cost effective, to work with existing community programs to support employees or their families with nutrition education off-site. It is also important that the opportunities created are flexible enough to meet the needs of a wide variety of employees.

Previous work in worksite-based settings has found:

  • Worksite settings have the potential to reach a large population of adults so nutrition education interventions are desirable. Information can be sent home with workers to address the family.
  • Since the majority of adults are employed, the worksite represents a large, accessible audience for health promotion efforts. Workers are generally healthier than their non-working counterparts, so they are excellent candidates for primary prevention, which is the general aim of most public health nutrition interventions.
  • The worksite has been endorsed as an excellent place to establish nutrition education interventions because this setting allows an opportunity to conduct multiple and repeated interventions for a somewhat captive audience and because changes can be made in the environment to stimulate healthful choices by employees (e.g., healthy food options in the cafeteria).
  • The workplace is also a viable site for nutrition health promotion programs since it provides an opportunity to make environmental and structural changes that support educational messages, and provides the ability to provide social support for health enhancing behaviors.

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