Efficacy of a "small-changes" workplace weight loss initiative on weight and productivity outcomes

J Occup Environ Med. 2012 Oct;54(10):1224-9. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182440ac2.


Objective: The effect of weight reduction on workplace productivity is unknown. We have investigated a "small-changes" workplace weight loss intervention on weight and productivity outcomes.

Methods: Overweight/obese employees at two New Zealand worksites (n = 102) received the 12-week intervention. One site received an extra 9-month weight-maintenance component. Magnitudes of effects on weight and productivity were assessed via standardization.

Results: Both groups reduced weight at 12 weeks and maintained lost weight at 12 months. There were small possible improvements in productivity at one worksite and trivial reductions at the other by 12 weeks, with little subsequent change during maintenance in either group. At an individual level, weight change was associated with at most only small improvements or small reductions in productivity.

Conclusion: Workplace weight loss initiatives may need to be more intensive or multidimensional to enhance productivity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adult
  • Efficiency, Organizational*
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New Zealand
  • Overweight / diet therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*
  • Workplace
  • Young Adult