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Exploring the dynamics of a free fruit at work intervention

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Amelia Lake, Charlotte Bryant, Sevil Alinia, Dr Kirsten BrandtORCiD, Emeritus Professor Chris SealORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Background: The workplace has been identified as an ideal setting for health interventions. However, few UK-based workplace intervention studies have been published. Fewer still focus on the practicalities and implications when running an intervention within the workplace setting.The objective of this paper was to qualitatively determine the perceived behaviour changes of participants in a free fruit at work intervention. Understanding the dynamics of a workplace intervention and establishing any limitations of conducting an intervention in a workplace setting were also explored.Methods: Twenty-three face-to-face interviews were conducted with individuals receiving free fruit at work for 18 weeks (74 % female). The worksite was the offices of a regional local government in the North East of England. Analysis was guided theoretically by Grounded Theory research and the data were subjected to content analysis. The transcripts were read repeatedly and cross-compared to develop a coding framework and derive dominant themes.Results: Topics explored included: the workplace food environment; the effect of the intervention on participants and on other related health behaviours; the effect of the intervention on others; participant's fruit consumption; reasons for not taking part in the intervention; expectations and sustainability post-intervention; and how to make the workplace healthier. Five emergent themes included: the office relationship with food; desk based eating; males and peer support; guilt around consumption of unhealthy foods; and the type of workplace influencing the acceptability of future interventions.Conclusion: Exploring the perceptions of participants offered valued insights into the dynamics of a free fruit workplace intervention. Findings suggest that access and availability are both barriers and facilitators to encouraging healthy eating in the workplace.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lake AA, Smith SA, Bryant CE, Alinia S, Brandt K, Seal CJ, Tetens I

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMC Public Health

Year: 2016

Volume: 16

Print publication date: 01/01/2016

Online publication date: 19/08/2016

Acceptance date: 12/08/2016

Date deposited: 22/09/2016

ISSN (print): 1471-2458

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.


DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-3500-4


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Funder referenceFunder name
British Heart Foundation
Cancer Research UK
Economic and Social Research Council
Medical Research Council
National Institute for Health Research
FP6-FOOD-CT-2006-016279European Commission under Thematic Priority 5-Food Quality and Safety of the 6th Framework Programme of RTD