The epidemic of chronic societal diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease has huge personal and economic consequences. This study tested 787 workers to determine whether improving nutritional quality (instead of cutting calories), increasing cardiorespiratory fitness and reducing waist circumference (rather than losing weight) could substantially improve health status in a workplace intervention program. The results show that a simple counselling approach focusing on food quality and on increasing physical activity by periods of 15 minutes could have considerable beneficial effects. This three-month intervention, based on peer support among employees, reduced waist girth, improved overall diet quality, lowered resting blood pressure, improved the blood lipid profile and increased cardiorespiratory fitness. This study?s findings suggest that the workplace has the potential to promote healthier lifestyle habits and reduce major risk factors for chronic societal diseases.
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