Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is seeking to partner with about 30 medium-to-small businesses in south-central Seattle to conduct an obesity-prevention study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study will mainly recruit at worksites where employees have traditional blue- and pink-collar jobs.
The overall goal of the MOVE (Move and Moderate in Balance) Study will be to examine the effectiveness of simple, cost-effective ways that businesses can help their employees prevent obesity and maintain a healthy weight. Strategies will include worksite events and initiatives that emphasize healthy food options and increased opportunities for physical activity.
The study will aim to raise awareness, enhance motivation and support newly adopted skills among employees to help create a working environment that is conducive to promoting better food choices and increasing physical activity.
Shirley A.A. Beresford, Ph.D., a member of the Hutchinson Center's Public Health Sciences Division, will lead the project in collaboration with researchers from the University of Washington and the Hutchinson Center.
The two-year study will involve worksites ranging in size between 15 and 75 employees. Half of the worksites will be randomly assigned to implement the weight-management intervention program, while half will receive no intervention and serve as a comparison, or control, group.
However, when the study is complete, the comparison worksites will be offered the weight-management program in a condensed form, as a delayed intervention.
"We look forward to working with companies to tailor the program to individual company needs," Beresford said. 'We have formed long-lasting partnerships with companies in the greater Seattle area in worksite-health studies, partnerships that have been valuable and enjoyable to both company representatives and our staff.
"As we embark on this study in a limited geographical area, we are really counting on strong community support for this work. It will add significantly to our arsenal to combat the growing obesity epidemic."