Delivering a Behavior-Change Weight Management Program to Teachers and State Employees in North Carolina

Dunn, Carolyn; MacKenzie Whetstone, Lauren; Kolasa, Kathryn M.; Jayaratne, K. S. U. (Jay); Thomas, Cathy; Aggarwal, Surabhi; Herget, Casey; Rogers, Anne B.
July 2013
American Journal of Health Promotion;Jul/Aug2013, Vol. 27 Issue 6, p378
Academic Journal
Purpose. To ascertain the effectiveness of a behavior-change weight management program offered to teachers and state employees in North Carolina (NC). Design. Fifteen-week weight management program with premeasures and postmeasures. Setting. State agencies and public K-12 schools in five NC counties. Subjects. A total of 2574 NC state employees enrolled in 141 classes. Intervention. Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less (ESMMWL) is a 15-week weight management program delivered by trained instructors. Lessons inform, empower, and motivate participants to live mindfully as they make choices about eating and physical activity. Measures. Height, weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, blood pressure, confidence in ability to eat healthy and be physically active, changes in eating, and physical activity behaviors. Analysis. Descriptive statistics, t-tests, χ²) tests, and analyses of variance. Results. Data are reported for 1341 participants in ESMMWL who completed the program, submitted an evaluation, and had not participated in the program in the past; 89% were female and mean age was 48.8 years. Average BMI and waist circumference decreased significantly. Confidence in eating healthfully and being physically active increased significantly. The percentage of participants with a BMI < 30 kg/m²) increased from 40% to 45% and those with a normal blood pressure increased from 23% to 32.5%. Participants reported being more mindful of what and how much they ate (92%), being more mindful of how much daily physical activity they got (88%), and eating fewer calories (87.3%). Conclusion. This project demonstrated the feasibility of implementing a behavior change-based weight management program at the worksite to achieve positive outcomes related to weight, blood pressure, healthy eating, and physical activity behaviors. Programs such as this have the potential to provide health care cost savings.


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