Nutrition Evaluation Measures

Once a company has conducted assessment and planning of nutrition programs, and developed the specific tasks of implementation for these programs, it is time to develop the evaluation plan. The evaluation plan should be in place before any program implementation has begun.  

Metrics for worker productivity, health care costs, heath outcomes, and organizational change allow measurement of the beginning (baseline), middle (process), and results (outcome) of workplace health programs.  It is not necessary to use all these metrics for evaluating programs.  Some information may be difficult or costly to collect, or may not fit the operational structure of a company.  These lists are only suggested approaches that may be useful in designing an evaluation plan.   

These measures are designed for employee group assessment. They are not intended for examining an individual’s progress over time, which would raise concerns of employee confidentiality. For employer purposes, individual-level measures should be collected anonymously and only reported (typically by a third party administrator) in the aggregate, because the company’s major concerns are overall changes in productivity, health care costs, and employee satisfaction.

In general, data from the previous 12 months will provide sufficient baseline information and can be used in establishing the program goals and objectives in the planning phase, and in assessing progress toward goals in the evaluation phase. Ongoing measurements every 6 to 12 months after programs begin are usually appropriate measurement intervals, but measurement timing should be adapted to the expectations of the specific program.

Good nutrition can lower the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes , high blood pressure , osteoporosis, and some cancers.  It has a direct effect on obesity and high cholesterol.

Changes in diet are difficult to relate to direct changes in work productivity, health care costs, or health outcomes.  However, the evaluation can include employee’s reported changes in behaviors, knowledge, and skills regarding healthy eating.  Evaluation of nutrition interventions should be conducted in the context of a comprehensive workplace program that includes physical activity, nutrition, and overweight/obesity interventions.

Intervention evidence suggests that even when evaluating direct disease outcomes (e.g., obesity) it will be difficult to separate the effects of nutrition interventions in a comprehensive health program that includes clinical counseling, nutrition education, and physical activity.1-2


1.  Pignone MP, Ammerman A, Fernandez L, Orleans CT, Pender N, Woolf S, Lohr KN, Sutton S. Counseling to promote a healthy diet in adults: a summary of the evidence for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Am J Prev Med. 2003 Jan;24(1):75-92. Available from: .

2.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Public health strategies for preventing and controlling overweight and obesity in school and worksite settings. A report on recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2005;54(RR10):1-12