Background: This article describes the design and baseline findings of The Next Step Trial, a health promotion intervention targeting automobile industry employees at increased colorectal cancer risk. The intervention encouraged colorectal cancer screening participation and adoption of low-fat, high-fiber diets.
Methods: Twenty-eight worksites (n = 5,042) were randomized to control (a company-sponsored screening program) or intervention (an enhanced screening program including a personalized educational booklet and motivational telephone call and diet-change program including nutrition classes, self-help materials, and computer-generated personalized feedback). Outcomes included screening compliance and fat and fiber intake.
Results: Pretrial data indicated targeted employees were predominantly older, well educated, married, Caucasian men. Sixty-one percent (SE = 2) participated in the screening program in the preceding 2 years, and 24% (SE = 1) reported a history of colorectal polyps or cancer. Fifty-eight percent of the cohort responded to the baseline questionnaire; respondents were older and more educated; more were married, retired, and Caucasian than nonrespondents. Mean dietary intakes were 36.9% energy from fat (SE = 0.21), 8.8 g fiber/1000 kcal (SE = 0.07), and 3.4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (SE = 0.04).
Conclusions: Baseline data show moderate screening participation and dietary intakes that did not meet guidelines; hence intervention efforts were warranted. Data from this trial will support a rigorous test of whether this high-risk employee population is responsive to targeted health promotion, early cancer detection, and prevention interventions.