Cancer prevention through nutrition education in the workplace a review of the literature

Amanda Hutchinson, Brenda Wilson, Carlene Wilson

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Nutrition education programs have been implemented in the workplace in an effort to improve the diet and lifestyle of employees and, therefore, reduce the incidence of many chronic diseases linked to overweight and obesity including, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Despite the importance of this outcome, the success of these programs has varied. This review uses a qualitative, narrative approach to review research conducted over the past 10 years on nutrition programs in the workplace and attempts to identify those aspects associated with successful behaviour change among employees. This approach enables us to include a variety of methods of intervention and data collection and thereby allows identification of promising intervention approaches that might not be identified in review approaches that are based on quantitative metaanalyses. The paper reviews the evidence for both the efficacy and the effectiveness of nutrition education programs in the workplace (i.e., whether an intervention works under ideal, well controlled conditions, versus whether the intervention works in the "uncontrolled" real-world workplace) (Spraycar, 1995). In addition, the characteristics of efficacious and effective programs are described including the duration of the nutrition education programs, the type of programs offered to employees, and the settings in which the programs were implemented. The results of the review suggest the workplace is a viable context for delivery of programs designed to change food intake behaviours, and overweight and obesity prevalence, although the challenge is to achieve sustained change on these outcomes after the intervention concludes. The results of this review should be taken into account when planning future work-based education programs on nutrition.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)111-136
    Number of pages26
    JournalInternational Journal of Cancer Prevention
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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