In a cohort of employees participating in a worksite nutrition and physical activity program, we compared program completion and changes in cardiovascular risk factors by baseline body mass index.
In 2007, 774 employees enrolled in a 10 week program at a hospital in Boston, MA. Program completion and change in weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure were compared between obese (BMI≥30), overweight (BMI=25–29.9), and normal weight (BMI<25) participants.
At baseline, 63% were obese or overweight and had higher blood pressure and cholesterol compared to normal weight participants. Program completion was 82% and did not differ by BMI. Mean weight loss was 1.9 kg at end of program (p<0.001) and 0.4 kg at 1 year (p=0.002). At end of program, participants with BMI≥30 lost 3.0% body weight vs. 2.7% for BMI=25–29.9 and 1.7% for BMI<25 (p<0.001), but weight loss at 1 year did not differ by BMI. Mean cholesterol and blood pressure were lower at end of program and 1 year (p all <0.005) but did not differ by BMI.
Worksite programs can successfully initiate cardiovascular risk reduction among employees, but more intensive interventions are needed to make significant improvements in the health of higher risk obese employees.