By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – “Red light, green light” isn’t just a kids’ game, but it’s a tactic one local hospital is using to encourage healthier eating by its employees. And according to a new study, it’s working.

Foods at all Massachusetts General Hospital cafes and cafeterias were labeled with traffic light symbols indicating their relative health value: green for the healthiest foods, yellow labels for those less healthy foods, and red for the least healthy.

Researchers tracked the purchases of more than 5,600 employees before and after and found that they were buying a greater proportion of green-labeled foods and fewer red-labeled foods after the labels were added. They also were consuming fewer calories overall.

They estimated that the reduction in calories among employees who visited the cafeterias most often could result in more than a four pound weight loss over time.

Researchers say these types of interventions should become part of workplace culture to help people make long-term changes.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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