Management of obesity and overweight, with even modest success, can significantly ameliorate their public health burden and health care costs. Many employers recognize that obesity and the associated comorbidities decrease productivity and increase healthcare costs. They are therefore motivated to help their employees with obesity to manage their health both for financial reasons as well as for improving workplace productivity and morale. Worksite interventions have had some success in targeting weight and related comorbidities; however, there are few studies examining the psychosocial effects of inter-professional worksite interventions. Moreover, obesity is both cause and consequence of many psychosocial and behavioral problems, such as poor eating habits, poor sleep quality, depression, and low quality of life (QoL).
The current study assessed the psychosocial outcomes of an inter-professional worksite intervention that included access to exercise equipment and classes, healthy meals, the expertise of medical, nutrition, psychology staff and other health professionals as well as education related to behavioral factors that can make weight management easier. Program participants took part in a prospective, observational study using a before-after study design. The objective was to assess the psychosocial outcomes of the program at baseline, the conclusion of the intervention, and at follow-up time points.
In addition to achieving similar weight loss [2.7 kg (SD ± 6.35)] as those taking part in other published weight loss interventions, these participants experienced improvements in disordered eating patterns, sleep quality, and weight-related QoL, during the program. Furthermore, binge eating and QoL improvements were sustained 1 year after conclusion of the program.
These findings demonstrate that short and long-term improvements in psychosocial factors can be achieved from an inter-professional worksite wellness program. These findings further support efforts that address psychosocial factors in worksite wellness programs and suggest that a focus on participant QoL may be of particular importance for future evidence-based weight management programs.