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Perceived Barriers to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Among Participants in a Workplace Obesity Intervention

Stankevitz, Kayla MsGH; Dement, John PhD; Schoenfisch, Ashley PhD, MSPH; Joyner, Julie BA; Clancy, Shayna M. BA; Stroo, Marissa BS; Østbye, Truls MD, PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 8 - p 746–751
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001092

Objective: To characterize barriers to healthy eating (BHE) and physical activity (BPA) among participants in a workplace weight management intervention.

Methods: Steps to health participants completed a questionnaire to ascertain barriers to physical activity and healthy eating faced. Exploratory factor analysis was used to determine the factor structure for BPA and BHE. The relationships of these factors with accelerometer data and dietary behaviors were assessed using linear regression.

Results: Barriers to physical activity included time constraints and lack of interest and motivation, and to healthy eating, lack of self-control and convenience, and lack of access to healthy foods. Higher BHE correlated with higher sugary beverage intake but not fruit and vegetable and fat intake.

Conclusions: To improve their effectiveness, workplace weight management programs should consider addressing and reducing barriers to healthy eating and physical activity.

FHI 360 (Ms Stankevitz); School of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center (Dr Dement, Ms Joyner, Ms Clancy, Ms Stroo, Dr Østbye); Duke School of Nursing (Dr Schoenfisch), Durham, North Carolina ; Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore (Dr Østbye).

Address correspondence to: Shayna M. Clancy, BA, Community and Family Medicine, Box 104006, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27705 (

Funding: This research was supported by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (R01 OH009468).

The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine