Environmental interventions for altering eating behaviours of employees in the workplace: A systematic review

J Allan, D Querstret, K Banas, M De Bruin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Environmental, or ‘choice-architecture’ interventions aim to change behaviour by changing properties/contents of the environment and are commonly used in the workplace to promote healthy behaviours in employees. The present review aimed to evaluate and synthesize the evidence surrounding the effectiveness of environmental interventions targeting eating behaviour in the workplace. A systematic search identified 8157 articles, of which 22 were included in the current review. All included studies were coded according to risk of bias and
reporting quality, and were classified according to the emergent typology of choicearchitecture interventions. More than half of included studies (13/22) reported significant changes in primary measures of eating behaviour (increased fruit/veg consumption, increased sales of healthy options, and reduction in calories purchased). However, only 1 study produced a small significant improvement in weight/BMI. Many studies had a high or unknown risk of bias; reporting of interventions was suboptimal and the only trial to measure
compensatory behaviours, found that intervention participants who ate less during the intervention ate more outwith the workplace later in the day. Hence, we conclude that more rigorous, well-reported studies that account for compensatory behaviours are needed to fully understand the impact of environmental interventions on diet and importantly on weight/BMI outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-226
Number of pages13
JournalObesity Reviews
Issue number2
Early online date17 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

This work was funded by the Scottish Government (RESAS division) through a
block grant to Rowett Institute of Nutrition & Health


  • workplace
  • environmental intervention
  • choice architecture
  • diet
  • eating


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