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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


VELOSO, Iracema Santos; SANTANA, Vilma Sousa  and  OLIVEIRA, Nelson Fernandes. The Brazilian Workers' Food Program and its impact on weight gain and overweight. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2007, vol.41, n.5, pp.769-776. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of worker food programs on weight gain and overweight. METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study carried out in the state of Bahia, northeastern Brazil, between 1995 and 2000. All 10,368 workers from manufacturing and construction industries enrolled in the Brazilian Industry Social Service workers' health program were included in the study. Workers data were obtained from electronic medical records corresponding to pre-employment, periodic and dismissal clinical exams. Company data were obtained through phone interviews with key informants from human resources departments. Statistical analysis was based on incidence rate ratio and 95% confidence intervals calculated using the exact binomial test. RESULTS: Workers covered by the Brazilian Workers' Food Program (Programa de Alimantação do Trabalhador) (incidence rate ratio,,IRR=1.71; 95% CI 1.45-2.00) or other food programs (IRR=2.00; 95% CI 1.70;2.35) have increased incidence rate of weight gain compared to non-covered workers. Overweight was also associated to being covered by the Programa (IRR=1.91; 95% CI 1.26;2.91) or other food programs (IRR=2.13; 95% CI 1.41;3.23). CONCLUSIONS: Food programs contributed to weight gain and overweight. Program strategies need to be reviewed taking into consideration not only the daily amount of calories but also promotion of adequate nutritional balance and physical activity as well as other healthy life habits.

Keywords : Weight gain; Overweight; Collective feeding; Occupational health; Nutrition programmes and policies; Program evaluation; Cohort studies.

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