This meta-analytic review critically examines the effectiveness of workplace interventions targeting physical activity, dietary behaviour or both on weight outcomes. Data could be extracted from 22 studies published between 1980 and November 2009 for meta-analyses. The GRADE approach was used to determine the level of evidence for each pooled outcome measure. Results show moderate quality of evidence that workplace physical activity and dietary behaviour interventions significantly reduce body weight (nine studies; mean difference [MD]-1.19 kg [95% CI -1.64 to -0.74]), body mass index (BMI) (11 studies; MD -0.34 kg m⁻² [95% CI -0.46 to -0.22]) and body fat percentage calculated from sum of skin-folds (three studies; MD -1.12% [95% CI -1.86 to -0.38]). There is low quality of evidence that workplace physical activity interventions significantly reduce body weight and BMI. Effects on percentage body fat calculated from bioelectrical impedance or hydrostatic weighing, waist circumference, sum of skin-folds and waist-hip ratio could not be investigated properly because of a lack of studies. Subgroup analyses showed a greater reduction in body weight of physical activity and diet interventions containing an environmental component. As the clinical relevance of the pooled effects may be substantial on a population level, we recommend workplace physical activity and dietary behaviour interventions, including an environment component, in order to prevent weight gain.
© 2010 The Authors. obesity reviews © 2010 International Association for the Study of Obesity.