Interventions on diet and physical activity – what works; The Workplace.

From: World Health Organisation

Journal rating:
rating: 90%
Study Quality:
rating: 10%

Overall Reliability

Article Quality:
rating: 5%
rating: 0%


  • The paper is a review of the existing literature.


  • This report by the World Health Organisation was published in 2009 and was a review of the eligible studies investigating diet and/or physical activity that included human participants and were published in English between January 1995 and June 2006.
  • 937 diet studies were chosen for inclusion and 776 physical activity studies.


Effective Interventions

  1. Multi-component programmes promoting healthy dietary habits and/or physical activity, that:

  • provide healthy food and beverages at the workplace facilities, e.g. in the cafeteria or vending machines;

  • provide space for fitness or signs to encourage the use of stairs;

  • involve workers in programme planning and implementation;

  • involve the family in interventions through self-learn programmes, newsletters, festivals, etc.; or

  • provide individual behaviour change strategies and self-monitoring

Example Interventions

  1. The Treatwell 5-a-day is a multi-component programme promoting healthy dietary habits. The programme includes exposure to the national 5-a-day media campaigns, promotion of the Cancer Information Service hotline, and a one-hour diet presentation. Two intervention conditions were tested. The first was limited to the workplace, while the second tested a workplace-plus-family arm. The workplace component included worker participation in planning and implementation; programmes aimed at individual behaviour change; and changes in the workplace environment. The family component included self-learning, a family newsletter and an annual festival. Workplaces that included the family component were the most successful and recorded a 19% increase in fruit and vegetable consumption in the intervention group, compared to 7% in the workplace-only group



  1. "National and local governments should frame policies and provide incentives to ensure that ... labour and workplace policies encourage physical activity."


  • As per the results above.


Editors Notes

  • Noncommunicable diseases (chronic disease which are not passed from person to person) are by far the leading cause of death in the world today, and their impact is steadily growing. In 2005, 35 million people died from NCDs, which represents 60% of the total number of global deaths in that year.
  • A small set of common risk factors is responsible for most of the major noncommunicable diseases: unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use. Elimination of these modifiable risk factors would prevent 80% of premature heart disease, 80% of premature stroke, 80% of type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancer.