One in three people globally suffer from at least one form of malnutrition, leading to poor health outcomes and low productivity in the workplace. The workplace offers an important, relatively unexploited opportunity to address malnutrition in all its forms. This literature review aims to understand the potential for impact of workforce nutrition programmes on nutrition, health, and business outcomes, based on high-strength-of-evidence studies.
The authors conducted a systematic search on PubMed and a rapid hand-search on Google Scholar to identify systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and randomized controlled trials published between January 2010 and October 2021. In total, 26 records were included. They found that comprehensive workforce nutrition programmes, including a variety of intervention areas, and/or programmes targeting high-risk categories of workers (overweight/obese or (pre-)diabetic) were more likely to be effective on nutrition, health, and business outcomes. Within comprehensive and targeted programmes, individualized counselling and environmental modifications were often mentioned as the most effective components. However, a high degree of heterogeneity in outcome measures and programme designs made it difficult to draw strong conclusions on impact of workforce nutrition interventions. Limited evidence was found on business outcomes, longer-term effects of interventions, and programme implementation in LMICs. Therefore, further research is needed to address these evidence gaps.