The economic and social costs related to obesity and other diet-related conditions (e.g., several forms of cancer, heart disease, type two diabetes, and more) are extensive. The worksite setting represents a channel through which hundreds of millions of Americans can be reached through tools and education that support healthier lifestyles. An important and often overlooked component of worksite wellness programs is restaurant dining. No known comprehensive nationwide program exists to support employees with information and tools about making healthier choices at restaurants. This Phase I research project explores the feasibility of implementing a Healthy Dining restaurant nutrition program into worksite wellness programs. One component of the research entails developing and testing with approximately 75 wellness/HR directors and health insurance executives a variety of materials and channels - both convention and digital - that introduce HealthyDiningFinder.com and a corresponding mobile app, VioDine. This website and app, both developed by funding provided by the CDC and NIH, respectively, are one-of-a-kind resources that identify dietitian-approved menu choices from restaurants nationwide that span fast food to fine dining. The recommended menu items focus on lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and unsaturated fats;and meet benchmarks for calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium. Once feedback is obtained from the participants and modifications are made to the materials as informed by the feedback, approximately 75 employees from two to three worksites will participate in four weeks of tracking any restaurant-prepared meals consumed. The first week will constitute "baseline" data collection, during which no information about HealthyDiningFinder.com will be provided to the employees. Weeks two through four will constitute the intervention period, during which the employers will utilize a variety of materials and channels (posters, e-mail announcements, employee Intranet, etc.) to inform/encourage their employees about the availability of HealthyDiningFinder.com and the VioDine app. Participating employees, who will be compensated for their time and diligence in tracking restaurant meals and related information, will also complete pre- and post-intervention questionnaires examining knowledge, attitude, and behavior. Phase II of the project will entail a randomized control study involving eight to 12 worksites, with three distinct groups of employees. One group will serve as the controls, receiving no information about the health promotion tools. The second and third groups will receive information about the health promotion tools, and one of these groups will be financially incentivized to choose the Healthy Dining menu items.

Public Health Relevance

This project explores the feasibility of implementing a Healthy Dining restaurant nutrition program into worksite wellness programs. The worksite setting represents a channel through which hundreds of millions of Americans can be reached through tools and education that support healthier lifestyles. Human resource/wellness directors and health insurance executives will contribute feedback about materials developed to introduce the website and phone app and their interest in potentially introducing/recommending these resources to their employees.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Type
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
Project #
1R43CA183211-01A1
Application #
8780476
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
Program Officer
Weber, Patricia A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Accents on Health, Inc.
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
San Diego
State
CA
Country
United States
Zip Code
92123