Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Sue Bell


The rate of obesity is increasing in the United States. In Florida, almost 60% of the population will be obese by 2030. This increase is expected to contribute to millions of cases of preventable chronic diseases costing the state an estimated $34 billion dollars. Employer-sponsored health programs can positively influence employees' lifestyle choices and support weight loss programs to reduce health-related costs to the employee and the employer. Guided by the transtheoretical model, the purpose of the project was to conduct an employee assessment to determine the need for, interest in, and readiness for a lifestyle intervention weight loss program. One-hundred sixteen employees from a participant pool of 1,500 employees of a community hospital completed an online survey by providing information on age, weight, gender, body mass index, and exercise patterns. They also answered the 36-item University of Rhode Island Change Assessment Scale to determine readiness for participating in the workplace-based Group Lifestyle Balance program. Data were summarized using descriptive statistics; 52% of respondents were between 26 and 55 years of age and 44% of respondents were obese. Scores on the Change Assessment Scale revealed that 46.4% (n = 54) of the respondents were thinking about making a lifestyle change within the next 6 months. The findings indicated that many hospital employees were in the contemplation stage of readiness for change and they were receptive to additional information about the weight loss program. The needs assessment was the first step toward establishing community-level social change, starting with hospital employees, to decrease obesity and improve population health.