The Heartbeat Award scheme (HBA) aims to encourage provision and promotion of healthier food choices in catering premises and has been operating in Leicestershire since its launch in England in 1990. This study assessed if the scheme changes dietary attitudes and knowledge of employees in HBA premises. A longitudinal survey of employees in six workplaces was conducted using a structured questionnaire. Employees were investigated before the scheme was implemented and 6 months afterwards. Using a series of validated questions that assessed predisposing and enabling psycho-social factors. Four workplaces with the HBA (N= 453) were compared with two comparison workplaces (N= 124). Nutritional knowledge did not change significantly as a result of the scheme. Employees at HBA workplaces had noticed healthy eating information and acknowledged that it was easier to eat a healthy diet at work after the scheme had been introduced. There was some evidence that the intervention had a maintenance effect in understanding of healthy eating messages, and could act as a buffer to negative external influences. Overall, the scheme was successful in raising awareness of healthy eating in the workplace, but not in enhancing predisposing factors.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.