Evaluation of obesity interventions targeting adults in the occupational setting

Jessica M Sorola, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The study of obesity and its causes has evolved into one of the most important public health issues in the United States (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2007). Obesity is linked to several chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2008b) and the public health concern resides in the present morbidity and mortality associated with obesity and related conditions (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 1998). Furthermore, obesity and its related conditions present economic challenges to employers in terms of medical health care, sick leave, short-term disability and long-term disability benefits utilized by employees (Østbye, Dement, and Krause, 2007). Recently, articles covering intervention programs targeting obesity in the occupational setting have surfaced in the body of scientific literature. The increased interest in this area stems from the fact that employees in the United States spend more time in the work environment than many industrialized nations, including Japan and most of Western Europe (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2006). Moreover, scientific literature supports the idea of investing in healthy human capital to promote productivity and output from employees (Berger, Howell, Nicholson, & Sharda, 2003). The time spent in the work environment, the business need for healthy employees, and the public health concern create an opportunity for planning, implementation and analysis of interventions for effectiveness. This paper aims to identify those intervention programs that focus on the occupational setting related to obesity, to analyze the overall effect of diet, physical fitness and behavioral change interventions targeting overweight and obesity in the occupational setting, and to evaluate the details and effectiveness of components, such as, intervention setting, target participant group, content, industry and length of follow up. Once strengths and weaknesses of the interventions are evaluated, ideas will be suggested for implementation in the future.

Subject Area

Occupational health|Public health

Recommended Citation

Sorola, Jessica M, "Evaluation of obesity interventions targeting adults in the occupational setting" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1457547.