Purpose: The nutrition component of the Eat Smart! Workplace Cafeteria Program (ESWCP) in a hospital was evaluated. We assessed staff's frequency of visits to and purchases in the hospital cafeteria, attitudes about the program, short-term eating behaviour change, and suggestions to improve the ESWCP.
Methods: Questionnaires were sent to hospital staff members who were not on leave (n=504). Dillman's Tailored Design Method was used to design and implement the survey. Four mail-outs were used and yielded a 51% response rate.
Results: Eighty-seven percent of respondents visited the hospital cafeteria at least once a week in an average seven-day week, and 69% purchased one to five meals or snacks there each week. Eighty-six percent of respondents said that they were aware of the hospital's program. Notices on cafeteria tables were the primary method of learning about the program (67%). Reported program benefits included increased knowledge about healthy eating, convenience of having healthy foods in the cafeteria, and increased energy.
Conclusion: Many respondents were aware of the program, provided positive comments about it, and reported positive changes in eating habits. However, future observational research is warranted to note foods served and sold before and after program implementation, as well as to examine whether results can be generalized to other settings.