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NutritionQuest's Alive! Program Improves Quality of Life
Date:11/20/2008

BERKELEY, Calif., Nov 20 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study by researchers at NutritionQuest (http://www.nutritionquest.com) and Kaiser Division of Research (Oakland, California), has found that a low-cost emailed health promotion program, "Alive!" significantly improved self-reported quality of life.

The researchers also found improvement in "presenteeism," a measure of how much physical or emotional problems interfere with productivity and the ability to accomplish work tasks.

"Alive! was designed to help people improve their eating habits and physical activity," said Gladys Block, PhD, Chief Scientist of NutritionQuest and Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley, and lead author of the report. "We have found significant improvements in diet and physical activity," said Block, "but those results will be reported later."

The study was published by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, and is online at http://www.jmir.org/2008/4/e43 . It is based on results of a randomized controlled trial conducted among employees of a large organization. The study found that people enrolled in the program had significantly greater improvement in reported health-related quality of life than people enrolled in a control group.

The study was conducted with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which sought to develop low-cost approaches for improving diet and physical activity.

The researchers enrolled 787 participants from among non-medical staff of Kaiser Permanente of Northern California. Participants were randomized to receive the Alive! program immediately or after an eight-month delay. "It was quite impressive to see that degree of participation, considering that there was no monetary incentive and people knew they could be randomized to a group that would have to wait eight months," said Barbara Sternfeld, PhD, Senior Research Scientist at the Division of Research at Kaiser and Principal Investigator of the study.

The program was conducted entirely by email. Participants in the intervention group received an individualized program over a 16-week period. Each week they were offered a list of suggested goals to work on that week, tailored to their own dietary and activity habits. "We weren't explicitly trying to improve their quality of life," said Block. "But I suspect that committing to improve their lives, and succeeding in a series of small steps, led to the quality of life changes."

Before enrolling, potential participants filled out a questionnaire on their diet, physical activity and quality of life, and received immediate feedback on their diet and activity in relation to national guidelines. "We believe this information on their own diet and activity level contributed to their motivation to participate," said Clifford Block, PhD, Behavioral Scientist at NutritionQuest.

Alive! is available through NutritionQuest: http://www.nutritionquest.com, or 510-704-8514.

Press contact: Gladys Block, gblock@berkeley.edu, or 510-301-2984.

About NutritionQuest:

NutritionQuest, a privately held company in Berkeley, California, provides affordable wellness programs for employee and membership groups. The company is also one of the nation's leading providers of assessment measures for diet and physical activity. They are the sole source of the widely used Block Food Frequency questionnaire.


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SOURCE NutritionQuest
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