Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Food Science and Human Nutrition


Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Ruth Litchfield


Participants (n=176) from three Midwest companies completed a worksite health risk appraisal (HRA). Mean age was 40 years (range 20-76) with fairly equal distribution by gender. Weight status was assessed by Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA), Body Mass Index (BMI), and waist-to-hip ratio (W-H Ratio) and categorized participants as underweight/low risk (N = 2 vs. 3 vs. 39, respectively); healthy/normal/moderate risk (28 vs. 35 vs. 61); overweight/high risk (45 vs. 57 vs. 44); and obese/very high risk (100 vs. 78 vs. 31), respectively. Categorization methods were significantly different (p

Each method detected differences in four health status indicators (non-HDL, left and right flexibility, and MET scores) by weight category. Detection of differences in the remaining eight health status indicators (cholesterol, HDL, LDL, HDL/LDL ratio, triglycerides, glucose, diastolic blood pressure, and endurance) varied by weight categorization method. These differences also varied by gender.

Results confirm previous findings that increasing adiposity negatively impacts health status indicators. Findings suggest the use of multiple body adiposity measures may be warranted to screen for various chronic diseases. Use of weight status measures should be tailored to gender, age, and disease risk; however, this topic should be further explored.

Health risk appraisals (HRA) were conducted at three Midwest companies as part of a worksite wellness program (WWP). The HRA was comprised of a series of validated surveys regarding basic demographics, self-efficacy, dietary intake, and physical activity, anthropometrics, and biochemical measures. Employees (n = 105) ranged in age from 20-76 years (mean age = 40) with fairly equal distribution by gender. Employees at each worksite were randomly assigned to either the control (N = 47) or intervention group (N = 45) after completing the HRA.

Increasing health care costs, concerns regarding employee productivity, and research suggesting a significant Return on Investment (ROI) drive the increasing employer interest in WWP's. Onsite WWP's can provide access to 65% of the adult population with targeted strategies to modify poor health behaviors.

WWP's have been shown to improve health status including increased self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the belief of having control, knowledge, skills, capability, and surroundings conducive to achieving one's goal. Higher self-efficacy has been linked to positive health behaviors: increased fruit, vegetable, fiber, and dairy intake along with increased activity, performance, weight loss, smoking cessation, lowered body mass index (BMI), as well as reduced dietary and saturated fat intake 131.

Current findings suggest self-efficacy diminishes with age and increases with education level. Health status indicators were shown to vary by gender. Designing a program to control for outside factors and tailoring programming to gender, age, and education status may provide the foundation for significant improvements in self-efficacy and health behaviors. Findings suggest education has the strongest influence on self-efficacy which should be taken into account during program development.


Copyright Owner

Kayli Ann Julander



File Format


File Size

169 pages