Talya E. Geller, Gabrielle Clancy, Elizabeth Bailey, Svetlana Nepocatych. Elon University, Elon, NC.

BACKGROUND: Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a growing concern, and many communities lack the resources to effectively address the contributing behaviors. MetS is a cluster of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes risk factors such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia, and obesity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the needs and interests of faculty and staff at a small liberal arts university to design and deliver a workplace education program to decrease the risk factors associated with MetS. The project is a two phase study with phase 1) the community needs assessment and development of a nutrition and physical activity education program, and 2) the 16-week workplace education program and assessment of its effectiveness. METHODS: 53 faculty and staff members (weight: 85±19 kg, height 163±25 cm, and BMI 31±6 kg/m2 ) completed a community needs assessment and intervention program interest survey. The community needs assessment survey included demographics, overall health satisfaction, lifestyle habits, and interest in a nutrition and physical activity education program. After completion of the survey, 16 individuals participated in the Zoom focus groups. Meetings were video recorded and used for data analysis. During these focus groups participants were asked about what topics, skills, and resources they would like to learn in a workplace nutrition and physical activity education program to help support long-term lifestyle behavioral change. RESULTS: 63% of the survey respondents were dissatisfied with their physical activity habits, 47% with their eating habits, 49% with their overall health and 60% said they would be interested in the education program. Information collected from the focus groups resulted in the identification of relevant themes for the education program including: mindful eating, calorie counting, meal planning, grocery shopping, effective physical activity, motivation for exercise, sleep, and physical and mental health self-care. CONCLUSION: The collected information was used to develop an engaging 16-week workplace nutrition and physical activity education program for a target population to encourage lifestyle behavioral change and to reduce the risk of developing MetS risk factors.

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