Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition, Obesity
Objectives : Food consumed at work contributes to diet quality. Mandatory meetings often include catered foods selected by someone else. No research has investigated a worksite catered food environment. The objective of this study was foundational, to describe the nutritional quality of foods provided at employee meetings at a university, and explore perspectives and nutrition knowledge of administrative assistants who order.
Methods : Study protocols were compliant with the university IRB. Foods and beverages included on receipts for catered events in 2016 (n=686) were categorized (Crixell, PCD 2014). Administrative assistants who order foods (n=451) were invited via email to participate in four focus groups exploring factors affecting ordering, and to take a previously validated nutrition knowledge survey (Jones, JNEB 2015). Recorded audio was transcribed and analyzed per the classic analysis strategy. Emergent themes were identified.
Results : Sweetened beverages were provided at about one-third of meals and half of snacks. Desserts were provided at about three-fourths of events. At most dinners, high-fat entrées were offered. The majority of focus group participants were female (85%) and Caucasian (52%). Policies, paperwork, convenience, budget, vendors, feedback, food preferences, personal motives, and nutrition were among emergent themes.A total of 138 took the survey; 31 took it again. The majority were female (82%) and Caucasian (55%). Each domain ofnutrition knowledge had high internal consistency with a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.87 (MyPyramid), 0.89 (Nutrient Content), 0.85 (Diet-disease), 0.95 (Total). Per test-retest reliability, the correlation between first and second scores was significant but low, r=.534 < .70, p=.002. Paired samples t-test indicated no significant differences between assessments, p=.452. The average nutrition knowledge score was 50%.
Conclusions : Nutritional quality of catered foods could readily be improved by removing sweetened beverages and replacing desserts and unhealthy entrées with fruits, vegetables, and lean protein foods.Ordering may be improved by addressing barriers, including policies, and providing nutrition education and resources such as healthful menu options for those who order food.
Funding Sources : N/A