Go! Results from a quasi-experimental obesity prevention trial with hospital employees

Lara LaCaille, Jennifer F Schultz, Ryan C Goei, Rick A LaCaille, Kim N Dauner, Rebecca de Souza, Amy L Versnik Nowak, Ronald Regal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Worksite obesity prevention interventions using an ecological approach may hold promise for reducing typical weight gain. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of Go!, an innovative 12-month multi-component worksite obesity prevention intervention. Methods: A quasi-experimental non-equivalent control group design was utilized; 407 eligible hospital employees (intervention arm) and 93 eligible clinic employees (comparison arm) participated. The intervention involved pedometer distribution, labeling of all foods in the worksite cafeteria and vending machines (with calories, step equivalent, and a traffic light based on energy density signaling recommended portion), persuasive messaging throughout the hospital, and the integration of influential employees to reinforce healthy social norms. Changes in weight, BMI, waist circumference, physical activity, and dietary behavior after 6 months and 1 year were primary outcomes. Secondary outcomes included knowledge, perceptions of employer commitment to employee health, availability of information about diet, exercise, and weight loss, perceptions of coworker support and frequency of health discussions with coworkers. A process evaluation was conducted as part of the study. Results: Repeated measures ANCOVA indicated that neither group showed significant increases in weight, BMI, or waist circumference over 12 months. The intervention group showed a modest increase in physical activity in the form of walking, but decreases in fruit and vegetable servings and fiber intake. They also reported significant increases in knowledge, information, perceptions of employer commitment, and health discussions with peers. Employees expressed positive attitudes towards all components of the Go! intervention. Conclusions: This low-intensity intervention was well-received by employees but had little effect on their weight over the course of 12 months. Such results are consistent with other worksite obesity prevention studies using ecological approaches. Implementing low-impact physical activity (e.g., walking, stair use) may be more readily incorporated into the worksite setting than more challenging behaviors of altering dietary habits and increasing more vigorous forms of physical activity. Trial Registration: This study was registered with clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01585480) on April 24, 2012.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number171
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 19 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by a grant from the Healthy Foods Healthy Lives Institute at the University of Minnesota, USA. A supplementary grant was awarded by St. Luke’s Foundation in Duluth, MN. We thank John Strange, CEO of St. Luke’s and the administrative, food services, and clinical staff who supported this study. In particular, thanks to St. Luke’s Hospitality Services staff, who made the implementation of the cafeteria intervention possible. Thanks to employees who volunteered on the advisory board and/or as influentials, as well as the hundreds of employees who participated in the study. We thank Marilyn Odean and the Whiteside Institute for Clinical Research for facilitating the collaboration between the hospital and the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). We are also appreciative of the student research assistants at UMD who helped with this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 LaCaille et al.


  • Cafeteria
  • Diet
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Prevention
  • Worksite


Dive into the research topics of 'Go! Results from a quasi-experimental obesity prevention trial with hospital employees'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this