Objective: To evaluate the impact of an educational and environmental intervention on the availability and consumption of fruits and vegetables in workplace cafeterias.
Design: This was a randomized intervention study involving a sample of companies that were divided into intervention and control groups. The intervention, which focused on change in the work environment, was based on an ecological model for health promotion. It involved several different aspects including menu planning, food presentation and motivational strategies to encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables. The impact of the intervention was measured by changes (between baseline and follow-up) in the availability of fruits and vegetables that were eaten per consumer in meals and the consumption of fruits and vegetables in the workplace by workers. We also evaluated the availability of energy, macronutrients and fibre.
Settings: Companies of São Paulo, Brazil.
Subjects: Twenty-nine companies and 2510 workers.
Results: After the intervention we found an average increase in the availability of fruits and vegetables of 49 g in the intervention group, an increase of approximately 15 %, whereas the results for the control group remained practically equal to baseline levels. During the follow-up period, the intervention group also showed reduced total fat and an increase in fibre in the meals offered. The results showed a slight but still positive increase in the workers' consumption of fruits and vegetables (about 11 g) in the meals offered by the companies.
Conclusions: Interventions focused on the work environment can be effective in promoting the consumption of healthy foods.