Effectiveness of a Canteen Take Away concept in promoting healthy eating patterns among employees.

Anne Dahl Lassen, Lotte Ernst, Sanne Poulsen, Klaus Kaae Andersen, Gitte L. Hansen, Anja Pia Biltoft-Jensen, Inge Tetens

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Objective: To investigate the effectiveness of a relatively novel concept of providing employees with healthy ready-to-heat meals to bring home to their families, here referred to as Canteen Take Away (CTA). Design: Employees’ dietary intake on two weekdays when they received free CTA was compared with that on weekdays when they did not receive CTA. Four nonconsecutive 24 h dietary recalls were applied to assess dietary intake on a daily basis. Moreover, a digital photographic method was used to assess evening meal intake for three consecutive weeks. Data were analysed using a mixed-effects model. Setting: A financial worksite offering CTA. Subjects: Twenty-seven employees. Results: Overall dietary quality as expressed by the energy density of the food (excluding beverages) was found to be significantly lower on days consuming CTA meals compared to days not consuming CTA with regard to evening meal intake (average difference: 2187 (95% CI 2225, 2149) kJ/100 g) and on a daily basis (average difference: 277 (95% CI 2132, 221) kJ/100 g). Other favourable differences included increased vegetable intake (average difference: 83 (95% CI 67, 98) g/evening meal, 109 (95% CI 62, 155) g/d). Conclusion: The present study shows that providing healthy take-away dinners has potential for promoting healthy dietary habits among employees. This reinforces the importance of availability and convenience as effective tools to promote healthy eating habits.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)452-458
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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