For six months, the employees enrolled in the intervention followed a reduced calorie diet, emphasizing low-glycemic and high fiber foods that are less likely to raise blood sugar. The participants were responsible for purchasing and preparing their own food.
At the completion of the intervention, Das and colleagues observed substantial improvements in common markers for cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk. These included lower total cholesterol and glucose levels and lower blood pressure compared to the control group. Additionally, the intervention participants were given the option to enroll in a six-month, structured maintenance program. No significant weight re-gain was observed in the 40 participants who enrolled and stayed in the program.
"Based on our results, it seemed the weight loss intervention became embedded in the office culture and also helped the weight of people who were not enrolled in the program," said Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D., a co-author of the study and director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory. "We made an effort to reach employees who were not involved by producing a series of newsletters and holding monthly seminars on general health-related topics such as cardiovascular health, childhood nutrition and exercise."
"To gauge the impact of this parallel programming, we asked employees in all four worksites who did not participate in the weight loss intervention to provide us with a self report of their body weight and we saw an encouraging ripple effect," added Roberts, who is also the author of The "I" Diet book and program upon which the intervention is based, a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and an adjunct professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM). "Overweight and obese employees at the intervention sites lost up to three pounds while employees at the control sites gained up to two pounds."
The authors recomm
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Tufts University, Health Sciences Campus