Worksite intervention for weight control: A review of the literature

Deborah J. Hennrikus, Robert W. Jeffery

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Purpose. Published research on worksite weight-control programs is reviewed with the objective of assessing success in (1) reaching populations in need, (2) achieving sustained weight loss, and (3) improving employee health and productivity. Search method. Reviewed are 44 data-based articles published between 1968 and 1994. The initial search was part of a larger review on the health impact of worksite health promotion programs conducted by Centers for Disease Control and described in the introduction to this issue. We supplemented the resulting list with articles found in a search of our own reference files. Important findings. Methodologically the literature is relatively weak, consisting largely of uncontrolled case studies. Worksite interventions appear to be successful in reaching large numbers of people; the median participation rate among overweight employees was 39% in the six studies that provided this type of information. Worksite programs produced reasonable short-term weight loss: typically 1 to 2 pounds per week. Long- term weight loss, reductions in sitewide obesity prevalence, and health or productivity benefits have yet to be demonstrated. Major conclusions. Recommendations for future research include improved methods, more attention to recruitment and secondary outcomes, more direct comparison of different programs, and more creative use of worksites as environments and social units in designing programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-498
Number of pages28
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996


  • Methodology
  • Obesity
  • Weight Control
  • Worksite


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