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Improving the diet of employees at blue-collar worksites: results from the ‘Food at Work’ intervention study

  • Anne D Lassen (a1), Anne V Thorsen (a1), Helle M Sommer (a2), Sisse Fagt (a1), Ellen Trolle (a1), Anja Biltoft-Jensen (a1) and Inge Tetens (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 04 January 2011

To examine the impact of a 6-month participatory and empowerment-based intervention study on employees’ dietary habits and on changes in the canteen nutrition environment.


Worksites were stratified by company type and by the presence or absence of an in-house canteen, and randomly allocated to either an intervention group (five worksites) or a minimum intervention control group (three worksites). The study was carried out in partnership with a trade union and guided by an ecological framework targeting both individual and environment levels. Outcome measures included: (i) changes in employees’ dietary habits derived from 4 d pre-coded food diaries of a group of employees at the worksites (paired-data structure); and (ii) the canteen nutrition environment as identified by aggregating chemical nutritional analysis of individual canteen lunches (different participants at baseline and at endpoint).


Eight blue-collar worksites (five of these with canteens).




In the intervention group (n 102), several significant positive nutritional effects were observed among employees, including a median daily decrease in intake of fat (−2·2 %E, P = 0·002) and cake and sweets (−18 g/10 MJ, P = 0·002) and a median increase in intake of dietary fibre (3 g/10 MJ, P < 0·001) and fruit (55 g/d, P = 0·007 and 74 g/10 MJ, P = 0·009). With regard to the canteen nutrition environment, a significant reduction in the percentage of energy obtained from fat was found in the intervention group (median difference 11 %E, P < 0·001, n 144).


The present study shows that moderate positive changes in dietary patterns can be achieved among employees in blue-collar worksites.

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