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The Association Between Worksite Physical Environment and Employee Nutrition, and Physical Activity Behavior and Weight Status

Almeida, Fabio A. PhD; Wall, Sarah S. MEd; You, Wen PhD; Harden, Samantha M. PhD; Hill, Jennie L. PhD; Krippendorf, Blake E. BS; Estabrooks, Paul A. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: July 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 7 - p 779–784
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000180
Original Articles

Objective: To explore the relationship between worksite physical environment and employee dietary intake, physical activity behavior, and weight status.

Methods: Two trained research assistants completed audits (Checklist of Health Promotion Environments at Worksites) at each worksite (n = 28). Employees (n = 6261) completed a brief health survey before participation in a weight loss program.

Results: Employees' access to outdoor areas was directly associated with lower body mass index (BMI), whereas access to workout facilities within a worksite was associated with higher BMI. The presence of a cafeteria and fewer vending machines was directly associated with better eating habits. Better eating habits and meeting physical activity recommendations were both related to lower BMI.

Conclusions: Selected environmental factors in worksites were significantly associated with employee behaviors and weight status, providing additional intervention targets to change the worksite environment and promote employee weight loss.

From the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise (Dr Almeida, Mrs Wall, Dr Harden, Dr Hill, Mr Krippendorf, and Dr Estabrooks), Virginia Tech; Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics (Dr You), Blacksburg, Va; School of Kinesiology (Dr Harden), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and Department of Family and Community Medicine (Dr Estabrooks), Carilion Clinic, Roanoke, Va.

Address correspondence to: Fabio A. Almeida, PhD, VT Riverside 1 Riverside Circle SW, Suite #104 Roanoke, VA 24016 (

This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: 5R01DK071664-04 (Estabrooks, PI).

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine