Dietary interventions to prevent and manage diabetes in worksite settings: a meta-analysis

J Occup Health. 2018 Jan 25;60(1):31-45. doi: 10.1539/joh.17-0121-RA. Epub 2017 Nov 29.


Objectives: The translation of lifestyle intervention to improve glucose tolerance into the workplace has been rare. The objective of this meta-analysis is to summarize the evidence for the effectiveness of dietary interventions in worksite settings on lowering blood sugar levels.

Methods: We searched for studies in PubMed, Embase, Econlit, Ovid, Cochrane, Web of Science, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. Search terms were as follows: (1) Exposure-based: nutrition/diet/dietary intervention/health promotion/primary prevention/health behavior/health education/food /program evaluation; (2) Outcome-based: diabetes/hyperglycemia/glucose/HbA1c/glycated hemoglobin; and (3) Setting-based: workplace/worksite/occupational/industry/job/employee. We manually searched review articles and reference lists of articles identified from 1969 to December 2016. We tested for between-studies heterogeneity and calculated the pooled effect sizes for changes in HbA1c (%) and fasting glucose (mg/dl) using random effect models for meta-analysis in 2016.

Results: A total of 17 articles out of 1663 initially selected articles were included in the meta-analysis. With a random-effects model, worksite dietary interventions led to a pooled -0.18% (95% CI, -0.29 to -0.06; P<0.001) difference in HbA1c. With the random-effects model, the interventions resulted in 2.60 mg/dl lower fasting glucose with borderline significance (95% CI: -5.27 to 0.08, P=0.06). In the multivariate meta-regression model, the interventions with high percent of female participants and that used the intervention directly delivered to individuals, rather the environment changes, were associated with more effective interventions.

Conclusion: Workplace dietary interventions can improve HbA1c. The effects were larger for the interventions with greater number of female participants and with individual-level interventions.

Keywords: Glucose; HbA1c; Meta-analysis; Type 2 diabetes; Worksite.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Diet Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / diet therapy
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Workplace


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human