There is a growing interest in health promotion emphasizing diet quality, specifically increased intake of fruits and vegetables, as a more effective approach for improving health outcomes. Recent studies examined ways to decrease fatigue in the workplace, some showing improved diet quality helps performance in the work environment. PURPOSE: This randomized pilot study aimed to test an online, non-restrictive diet among a sample of full-time employees at the University of North Texas. The primary research question asked if the diet program improved general health indicators: body fat percentage(BF%), body weight, and waist circumference(WC). METHODS: Twenty-three participants were randomized to complete an 8-week diet program using an online application or to receive the diet program after an 8-week waiting period(wait-list control). The online program included a daily fruit and vegetable target, four weeks of educational content, and a leaderboard displaying points for meeting the daily tasks. Participants were to complete 2 study visits (Baseline and 8 Weeks). During each visit, participants were asked to complete a standard Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) protocol and measurement of WC at the umbilicus. Independent samples t-tests were used to assess group differences in change in BF%, body weight, and WC following the 8-week intervention. RESULTS: Fourteen participants were randomized to the intervention group and 13 to the waitlist control group. The mean age among participants was 44.8±13.6 years; 65% identified as female biological sex, 74% had a master’s degree or more, and 74% identified as Caucasian. Results from independent t-tests indicated a small significant difference in BF% change (t(21) = 0.36, p = .049) and no significant change in body weight or WC. CONCLUSION: Results from this pilot study indicated some positive impact of an 8-week non-restrictive diet on BF%, which warrants further investigation in a larger, representative sample. Future research is needed examining biomarkers, and psychosocial outcomes as non-restrictive approaches to diet often do not yield significant weight loss, but other benefits related to improved diet quality, such as lower cholesterol or stress.



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