The Working Well Trial: Baseline Dietary and Smoking Behaviors of Employees and Related Worksite Characteristics

Jerianne Heimendinger, Ziding Feng, Karen Emmons, Anne Stoddard, Susan Kinne, Lois Biener, Glorian Sorensen, David Abrams, Jill Varnes, Bryant Boutwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. The Working Well Trial, the largest randomized worksite health promotion trial to date, tests the effects of cancer prevention and control interventions on dietary and smoking behaviors of employees and the worksite environment. The trial is a 5-year cooperative agreement conducted in 57 matched pairs of worksites in 16 states by four study centers, a coordinating center, and the National Cancer Institute. The dual aims of this paper are to: (a) present a baseline description of the dietary and smoking habits of 20,801 employees, who are predominantly blue-collar workers; and (b) describe the social and physical environments of their worksites that may facilitate or hinder health behavior changes. Methods. The self-administered baseline survey of individuals consisted of a core set of questions common across all study centers on diet and smoking. The organizational survey consisted to eight instruments administered via interviews with key informants in each worksite. Continuous variables were analyzed by a mixed linear model and binary data were analyzed by the Generalized Estimating Equation. Results. The population represented is largely male (67.5%) and blue collar (53.5%). Mean levels of fat and fiber intakes were close to the national averages (36.6% of calories as fat and 13.1 g of fiber). Smoking prevalence (25.2%) was slightly lower than the national average. The worksites had a high level of health promotion activites (42% had nutrition programs, 53% had smoking control programs), but lacked environmental support for dietary behavior change and perceived support for smoking cessation. Conclusions. These findings replicate and extend previous research results to a large sample of diverse, largely blue-collar worksites. In addition the baseline results lay a foundation for the development of new insight into the relationship between individual and organizational level variables that may interact to influence behavioral and cultural norms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-193
Number of pages14
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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