Organizational Change | Nutrition Evaluation Measures

Organizational change measures for nutrition1-4

Healthy eating, along with other health habits, require ongoing support from employers. New programs can be added over time and evaluated periodically for their effectiveness in establishing, maintaining, and increasing employee healthy eating. For best results, recognition of the benefits of healthy eating should become an inherent part of organizational change and corporate culture.

Measuring organization change is an assessment of company-initiated programs and policies that affect most employees regardless of their health status (e.g., changes of food options in the cafeteria). These efforts need to be integrated for greatest effectiveness and will require time for full implementation. Regular measures of employee attitudes and program success are key in determining whether new programs are effective or require further adaptation to prevent continuing investment in ineffective efforts.


  • Determine barriers to employee healthy eating at the workplace
  • Assess current workplace nutrition programs
    • List current nutrition options for employees through worksite and identify number of employees (i.e., participation in classes or tracking of food items bought in vending machines) using each option. Examples:
      • Number of nutrition classes (e.g., menu planning, food label interpretation, vitamin and mineral supplements, nutrition for older adults, and food safety) and participation in these programs
      • Availability of educational materials on nutrition
      • Number of nutrition-related policies
      • Number of environmental strategies such as healthy foods in the vending machines, cafeterias, snack shops, or garden markets
      • Number of partnerships with community resources for nutrition such as YMCAs, local hospital or health department
    • Determine costs of current company nutrition programs such as:
      • Capital investment in building or facilities such as cafeterias or vending machines
      • Staffing, equipment, and space
      • Cafeteria and vending machine contracts
      • Incentives tied to nutrition programs
    • Conduct survey of employee satisfaction with current workplace supported nutrition programs


  • Reassess barriers to employee healthy eating
  • Document steps taken and progress toward implementing each intervention selected
    • List numeric goals in each form of intervention within a designated time period (e.g., 12 months from startup):
      • Employee reach (e.g., number of educational pamphlets distributed)
      • Employee participation (e.g., number of desired participants in nutrition classes)
    • Describe timeline for implementation of each planned intervention (e.g., length of time and timing of tasks to develop, initiate, and conduct a mass campaign)
    • Create a baseline budget for new interventions including classes, instructors, classroom space, cafeteria and vending machine contracts, printed and online educational material, etc
    • Identify opportunities for new partnerships with community groups who provide nutrition programs (e.g., YMCA, local health department, local hospital, etc.)
  • Reassess employee satisfaction regarding workplace supported nutrition programs


  • Measure reductions in the number and type of employee barriers to healthy eating in the workplace
  • Assess changes in workplace nutrition programs
    • Measure changes in the number of nutrition program options for employees through the worksite and changes in employee participation using each option before and after the nutrition program or campaign. Examples:
      • Number of new programs developed and offered to employees and participation in these programs
      • Number of new educational materials developed and made available to employees
      • Number of nutrition-related polices developed and implemented compared to baseline
      • Number and type of new environmental support changes made (e.g., healthy foods in garden markets, vending machines, cafeterias, etc.)
      • Number of new partnerships with community groups created to enhance access and opportunity for employees to eat healthy  
    • Assess changes in program costs from baseline
      • New capital investments made (e.g., cafeteria)
      • Increases in staffing or materials needs due to new program offerings
      • New incentives or changes in existing incentives based on employee participation
      • Changes in costs for vending or cafeteria contracts
    • Assess changes in survey responses for employee satisfaction following implementation of a workplace supported nutrition program and compare with baseline

Depending on goal success, review the need to adjust workplace programs.


1.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Framework for program evaluation in public health. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 1999;48(No. RR-11): 1-40.

2.  Goetzel RZ, Ozminkowski RJ. Program evaluation. In: O’Donnell MP, editor. Health promotion in the workplace, 3rd edition. Albany, NY: Delmar Thomson Learning; 2002. p 116-165.

3.  Campbell KP, Lanza A, Dixon R, Chattopadhyay S, Molinari N, Finch RA, editors. A Purchaser’s Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: Moving Science into Coverage. Washington, DC: National Business Group on Health; 2006.

4.  Matson Koffman DM, Lanza A, Campbell KP. A Purchaser’s Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: A tool to improve health care coverage for prevention. Preventing Chronic Disease, April 2008; 5(2).