Foods and Beverages Obtained at Worksites in the United States

Published:January 22, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2018.11.011

      Abstract

      Background

      Nutrition interventions are a common component of worksite wellness programs and have been recognized as an effective strategy to change employee dietary behaviors. However, little is known about worksite food behaviors or the foods that are obtained at workplaces at the national level.

      Objective

      The aims were to examine the frequency of and the amount of money spent obtaining foods at work among employed US adults, to determine the foods most commonly obtained at work, and to assess the dietary quality of these foods.

      Design

      This is a cross-sectional analysis of data from the US Department of Agriculture Food Acquisition and Purchasing Survey, a nationally representative household survey conducted from April 2012 through January 2013 on food purchases and acquisitions during a 7-day study period.

      Participants

      The study included 5,222 employed adult Americans.

      Main outcome measures

      The study assessed the prevalence of obtaining any foods at work overall and according to sociodemographic subgroups, number of acquisitions and calories obtained, most commonly obtained foods and leading food sources of calories, and 2010 Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores that represent dietary quality.

      Statistical analyses performed

      Prevalence estimates of obtaining ≥1 foods at work were compared according to sociodemographic characteristic using χ2 tests.

      Results

      Nearly a quarter (23.4%) of working adults obtained foods at work during the week, and the foods they obtained averaged 1,292 kcal per person per week. The leading food types obtained included foods typically high in solid fat, added sugars, or sodium, such as pizza, regular soft drinks, cookies or brownies, cakes and pies, and candy. HEI scores suggest that work foods are high in empty calories, sodium, and refined grains and low in whole grains and fruit.

      Conclusions

      Working adults commonly obtain foods at work, and the foods they obtain have limited dietary quality. Future research should examine the role worksites can play to help ensure access to and promote healthier options.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

      1. National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2017; With Chartbook on Longterm Trends in Health. Hyattsville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2018.

        • Anderson G.
        Chronic Care: Making the Case for Ongoing Care.
        Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ2010
        • Bureau of Labor Statistics
        Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey: Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population by sex, age, and race.
        (Last modified January 19, 2018. Accessed November 8, 2018)
        • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
        Workplace Health Promotion.
        (Updated June 26, 2018. Accessed June 20, 2018)
        • Goetzel R.Z.
        • Ozminkowski R.J.
        The health and cost benefits of work site health-promotion programs.
        Annu Rev Public Health. 2008; 29: 303-323
        • Park S.
        • Pan L.
        • Lankford T.
        Relationship between employment characteristics and obesity among employed U.S. adults.
        Am J Health Promot. 2014; 28: 389-396
        • Micha R.
        • Penalvo J.L.
        • Cudhea F.
        • Imamura F.
        • Rehm C.D.
        • Mozaffarian D.
        Association between dietary factors and mortality from heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes in the United States.
        JAMA. 2017; 317: 912-924
      2. US Department of Health and Human Services, US Department of Agriculture. 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 7th Edition. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office; 2010.

        • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
        Healthy Food Environments.
        (Updated April 30, 2018. Accessed November 8, 2018)
        • Onufrak S.J.
        • Watson K.B.
        • Kimmons J.
        • et al.
        Worksite food and physical activity environments and wellness supports reported by employed adults in the United States, 2013.
        Am J Health Promot. 2016; 32: 96-105
        • Blanck H.M.
        • Yaroch A.L.
        • Atienza A.A.
        • Yi S.L.
        • Zhang J.
        • Masse L.C.
        Factors influencing lunchtime food choices among working Americans.
        Health Educ Behav. 2009; 36: 289-301
        • Anderson L.M.
        • Quinn T.A.
        • Glanz K.
        • et al.
        The effectiveness of worksite nutrition and physical activity interventions for controlling employee overweight and obesity: a systematic review.
        Am J Prev Med. 2009; 37: 340-357
        • Hirschman J.
        • Chriqui J.F.
        School food and nutrition policy, monitoring and evaluation in the USA.
        Public Health Nutr. 2013; 16: 982-988
      3. United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. 7 CFR Parts 210 and 220.

        • French S.A.
        • Harnack L.J.
        • Hannan P.J.
        • Mitchell N.R.
        • Gerlach A.F.
        • Toomey T.L.
        Worksite environment intervention to prevent obesity among metropolitan transit workers.
        Prev Med. 2010; 50: 180-185
        • Shimotsu S.T.
        • French S.A.
        • Gerlach A.F.
        • Hannan P.J.
        Worksite environment physical activity and healthy food choices: measurement of the worksite food and physical activity environment at four metropolitan bus garages.
        Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2007; 4: 17
        • US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
        FoodAPS National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey.
        (Updated October 24, 2018. Accessed November 8, 2018)
        • Mathematical Policy Research
        Mathematical Policy Research.
        https://www.mathematica-mpr.com/
        Date accessed: June 20, 2018
        • US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
        US Federal Poverty Guidelines Used to Determine Financial Eligibility for Certain Federal Programs.
        https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines
        Date accessed: June 21, 2018
        • National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
        Overview & Background of The Healthy Eating Index.
        (Updated August 13, 2018. Accessed September 6, 2017)
      4. Statistical Analysis Software [computer program]. Version 9.4. Cary, NC; 2013.

      5. Lin B-H, Guthrie J. Nutritional Quality of Food Prepared at Home and Away From Home, 1977-2008. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service; 2012.

        • Todd J.E.
        • Mancino L.
        • Lin B.-H.
        The Impact of Food Away from Home on Adult Diet Quality.
        US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Washington, DC2010
        • Bureau of Labor Statistics
        Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation.
        (Updated October 30, 2018. Accessed September 6, 2017)
        • Hearst M.O.
        • Harnack L.J.
        • Bauer K.W.
        • Earnest A.A.
        • French S.A.
        • Michael Oakes J.
        Nutritional quality at eight U.S. fast-food chains: 14-year trends.
        Am J Prev Med. 2013; 44: 589-594
        • Lee-Kwan S.H.
        • Pan L.
        • Kimmons J.
        • Foltz J.
        • Park S.
        Support for food and beverage worksite wellness strategies and sugar-sweetened beverage intake among employed U.S. adults.
        Am J Health Promot. 2017; 31: 128-135
        • Food Service Guidelines Federal Workgroup
        Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities.
        US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC2017
        • American Heart Association
        Healthy Workplace Food & Beverage Toolkit.
        American Heart Association, Dallas, TX2015
        • Gorlin M.
        • Dhar R.
        • Chance Z.
        Moments of truth: nudges at the point of consumption in an office setting.
        Advances in Consumer Research. 2014; 42: 423-426
        • Institute of Medicine
        Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention. Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation.
        National Academies Press, Washington, DC2012

      Biography

      S. J. Onufrak is an epidemiologist, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.

      Biography

      H. Zaganjor is an ORISE Fellow, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.

      Biography

      L. Pan is an epidemiologist, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.

      Biography

      S. H. Lee-Kwan is an epidemiologist, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.

      Biography

      S. Park is team leader, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.

      Biography

      D. M. Harris is senior scientist and team leader, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.