OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the £ for lb. Challenge, a novel country-wide, workplace-based, peer-led weight management programme with participants from a range of private and public organisations in Northern Ireland.
STUDY DESIGN: Pre- and post-intervention studies.
METHODS: The intervention was workplace-based, led by volunteer co-worker champions and based on the NHS Choices 12-week weight loss guide which incorporates dietary advice, physical activity, behaviour change methods and weekly weight monitoring. It operated from January to April in three consecutive years (2014-16). Overweight and obese adult workers were eligible. Training of peer champions involved two half-day workshops delivered by dieticians and physical activity professionals. Employers and/or participants pledged £1 to charity for every pound of weight lost. Weight was reported at enrolment and at either 12 weeks (2014) or at 12 weekly intervals (2015-16). Changes in weight and % weight, and body mass index were determined for all the participants and for gender and deprivation subgroups.
RESULTS: There were 734, 1559 and 1513 eligible participants, and 21, 31 and 35 participating companies in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively. Engagement rates were 94% and 96% and completion rates were 70% and 71% in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Mean weight loss was 1.9 kg (2.2%; 2014), 2.5 kg (2.8%; 2015) and 2.4 kg (2.7%; 2016). The proportions losing ≥5% initial bodyweight were 21% (2014), 24% (2015) and 26% (2016). Male participants were more than twice as likely as women to complete the programme (odds ratio: 2.5 ; 2.2 ) and to lose ≥5% bodyweight (odds ratio: 2.5 ; 3.7 ).
CONCLUSIONS: The £ for lb. Challenge was an effective, low-cost health improvement intervention with meaningful weight loss for many participants, particularly male workers. With high levels of engagement and ownership, and successful collaboration between public health, voluntary bodies, private companies and public organisations, it is a novel workplace-based model with potential to expand.
- Journal Article