Employees' Expectations of Internet-Based, Workplace Interventions Promoting the Mediterranean Diet: A Qualitative Study

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Abstract

Objective:

Explore employees' perceptions of ability to follow the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet), preferences for setting goals if asked to follow the MedDiet, and expectations of an Internet-based, workplace MedDiet intervention.

Design:

Seven focus groups to guide intervention development.

Setting:

Four workplaces (business/professional services, government branches) in Southwest England.

Participants:

Employees (n = 29, 51.7% women), ages 24–58 years.

Phenomenon of Interest:

Ability to follow the MedDiet; preferences for goal-setting if asked to follow the MedDiet; intervention content.

Analysis:

Data were analyzed with the use of thematic analysis.

Results:

Participants perceived that adhering to some MedDiet recommendations would be challenging and highlighted cost, taste, and cooking skills as adherence barriers. Behavior change preferences included a tailored approach to goal-setting, reviewing goal progress via a website/smartphone app, and receiving expert feedback via an app/website/text/face-to-face session. Desirable features of an Internet-based MedDiet application included recipes, interactivity, nutritional information, shopping tips, cost-saving information, and a companion smartphone app. Engaging in social support was deemed important to facilitate adherence.

Conclusions and Implications:

An Internet-based, workplace MedDiet intervention should address adherence barriers, utilize a tailored approach to setting and reviewing goals, and activate social support to facilitate adherence. These findings provide insights to planning to promote the MedDiet in non-Mediterranean regions.

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