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First-Year Results of an Obesity Prevention Program at The Dow Chemical Company

Goetzel, Ron Z. PhD; Baker, Kristin M. MPH; Short, Meghan E. MPH; Pei, Xiaofei PhD; Ozminkowski, Ronald J. PhD; Wang, Shaohung PhD; Bowen, Jennie D. MPH; Roemer, Enid C. PhD; Craun, Beth A. AS; Tully, Karen J. BS; Baase, Catherine M. MD; DeJoy, David M. PhD; Wilson, Mark G. HSD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: February 2009 - Volume 51 - Issue 2 - pp 125-138
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181954b03
Original Articles

Objective: To examine first-year results from a workplace environmental obesity prevention program at The Dow Chemical Company.

Methods: A quasi-experimental cohort study was conducted among employees at nine treatment worksites (n = 8013) who received environmental weight management interventions and three control worksites (n = 2269). Changes in employees’ weight, body mass index (BMI), and other health risks were examined using χ2 and t-tests.

Results: After 1 year, a modest treatment effect was observed for weight and BMI largely because the control group subjects gained weight; however, no effect was observed for overweight and obesity prevalence. Other risk factors (tobacco use, high blood pressure, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure values) decreased significantly, although blood glucose (high risk prevalence and values) increased.

Conclusions: Environmental changes to the workplace can achieve modest improvements in employees’ health risks, including weight and BMI measures, in 1 year.

From the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies (Dr Goetzel, Dr Roemer), Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga; Health and Productivity Research (Ms Baker, Ms Short, Dr Pei, Dr Wang, Ms Bowen), Thomson Reuters, Washington, DC; Workplace Health Group (Ms Baker), College of Public Health, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga; Consulting Economist (Dr Ozminkowski), Ann Arbor, Mich; and Health Services Expertise Center (Ms Craun, Ms Tully, Dr Baase), The Dow Chemical Company, Midland, Mich; Department of Health Promotion & Behavior, (Dr DeJoy, Dr Wilson) College of Public Health, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.

CME Available for this Article at ACOEM.org

The authors have no financial interests associated with this research, which was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (Grant #Ro1HL79546).

The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NHLBI.

Address correspondence to: Ron Z. Goetzel, PhD, Consulting and Applied Research, Thomson Reuters, 4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 330, Washington, DC 20008; E-mail: ron.goetzel@thomsonreuters.com.

©2009The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine