Subject: The Obesity Journal Club – Dietary Quality, Type, and Cost of Food Obtained at Work (Oct 1st)
Presenter: Ariella Korn, Doctoral Candidate
Article Title: Foods and Beverages Obtained at Worksites in the United States.
Background: Nutrition interventions are a common component of worksite wellness programs and have been recognized as an effective strategy to change employee dietary behaviors. However, little is known about worksite food behaviors or the foods that are obtained at workplaces at the national level.
Objective: The aims were to examine the frequency of and the amount of money spent obtaining foods at work among employed US adults, to determine the foods most commonly obtained at work, and to assess the dietary quality of these foods.
Methods: Design This is a cross-sectional analysis of data from the US Department of Agriculture Food Acquisition and Purchasing Survey, a nationally representative household survey conducted from April 2012 through January 2013 on food purchases and acquisitions during a 7-day study period. Participants The study included 5,222 employed adult Americans. Main Outcome Measures The study assessed the prevalence of obtaining any foods at work overall and according to sociodemographic subgroups, number of acquisitions and calories obtained, most commonly obtained foods and leading food sources of calories, and 2010 Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores that represent dietary quality. Statistical Analyses Performed Prevalence estimates of obtaining ≥1 foods at work were compared according to sociodemographic characteristic using χ2 tests.
Results: Nearly a quarter (23.4%) of working adults obtained foods at work during the week, and the foods they obtained averaged 1,292 kcal per person per week. The leading food types obtained included foods typically high in solid fat, added sugars, or sodium, such as pizza, regular soft drinks, cookies or brownies, cakes and pies, and candy. HEI scores suggest that work foods are high in empty calories, sodium, and refined grains and low in whole grains and fruit.
Conclusions: Working adults commonly obtain foods at work, and the foods they obtain have limited dietary quality. Future research should examine the role worksites can play to help ensure access to and promote healthier options.
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