OBJECTIVE: To present the effects of a relatively modest environmental intervention on biological cardiovascular risk indicators.
METHOD: A controlled trial, including two worksites. Measurements (i.e., body composition, blood pressure and serum cholesterol) took place at baseline and at 3- and 12-month follow-up. The 12-month environmental intervention (The Hague, The Netherlands, 2004) consisted of: a 'Food'-part: to stimulate healthier food choices by means of product information in the canteen, and a 'Steps'-part: focused on stimulating stair use by means of motivational prompts in staircases and on elevator doors.
RESULTS: Significant differences in change between groups (n=540) in favor of the intervention group were found on:  total cholesterol for women (-0.35 mmol/l);  HDL for men at 3 months (0.05 mmol/l) and 12 months (0.10 mmol/l); and  the total-HDL ratio for the total intervention group at 3 and 12 months (-0.45 mmol/l). Both groups showed a decrease in all body composition values at both follow-ups. A significant difference in change in systolic BP was found in favor of the control group (approximately 4 mm Hg), due to an increase in the intervention group at both follow-ups.
CONCLUSIONS: Based on the contrasting results, this modest environmental intervention was ineffective in reducing cardiovascular risk in a population of office workers.