December/January 2014/2015 (vol. 11/4)

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Research Plus

Lifestyle counselling for overweight workers

A randomised controlled trial in Finland demonstrated significant and sustained improvements in body weight and cardio-metabolic risk factors for overweight long-distance lorry and bus drivers who participated in a structured programme of monthly lifestyle counselling. Fifty-five men with waist circumferences greater than 100 cms (39.4 inches) were randomised into the 12-month lifestyle-counselling group. This comprised monthly counselling on diet, physical activity and sleep hygiene. Fifty-five were randomised to a waiting-list reference group and given lifestyle counselling after one year. After 12 months, mean body weight had decreased by 3.4 kg in the intervention group (p = 0.001) but had increased by 0.7 kg in the control group (not statistically significant) – net difference (ND) = -4.0 kg (CI -1.9 – -6.2). There were significant reductions in waist circumference (ND = -4.7 cm; CI -6.6 – -2.7), fat mass (ND = -3.1 kg; CI -4.9 – -1.4) and metabolic risk ‘z’ score (ND = -1.2 points; CI -0.6 – -2.0), but not in mean systolic blood pressure, glucose, total cholesterol, low- and high-density cholesterol, and triglyceride concentrations. The improvements were sustained after two years. After counselling, the reference group showed similar improvements so that the differences between the groups were no longer significant at two years. 

  1. Lifestyle counseling to reduce body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors among truck and bus drivers – a randomized controlled trial. Scandinavian Journal of Work Environment and Health 2014; online first: doi:10.5271/sjweh.3463.


Occupational Health at Work December/January 2014/2015 (vol. 11/4) pp39-40