Open Access Research article

Effect of an individually tailored one-year energy balance programme on body weight, body composition and lifestyle in recent retirees: a cluster randomised controlled trial

Andrea Werkman1, Paul JM Hulshof1, Annette Stafleu2, Stef PJ Kremers3, Frans J Kok1, Evert G Schouten1 and Albertine J Schuit45*

Author Affiliations

1 Wageningen University, Division of Human Nutrition, PO Box 8129, Internal code 62, 6700 EV Wageningen, The Netherlands

2 TNO Quality of Life, Physiological Sciences, PO Box 360, 3700 AJ Zeist, The Netherlands

3 Maastricht University, Department of Health Education and Promotion, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands

4 National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, PO Box 1,3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands

5 Vu University, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Department of Health Sciences, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:110  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-110

Published: 5 March 2010



The increased prevalence of overweight and obesity warrants preventive actions, particularly among people in transitional stages associated with lifestyle changes, such as occupational retirement. The purpose is to investigate the effect of a one year low-intensity computer-tailored energy balance programme among recent retirees on waist circumference, body weight and body composition, blood pressure, physical activity and dietary intake.


A randomised controlled trial was conducted among recent retirees (N = 413; mean age 59.5 years). Outcome measures were assessed using anthropometry, bio-impedance, blood pressure measurement and questionnaires.


Waist circumference, body weight and blood pressure decreased significantly in men of the intervention and control group, but no significant between-group-differences were observed at 12 or at 24-months follow-up. A significant effect of the programme was only observed on waist circumference (-1.56 cm (95%CI: -2.91 to -0.21)) at 12 month follow up among men with low education (n = 85). Physical activity and dietary behaviours improved in both the intervention and control group during the intervention period. Although, these behaviours changed more favourably in the intervention group, these between-group-differences were not statistically significant.


The multifaceted computer-tailored programme for recent retirees did not appear to be effective. Apparently the transition to occupational retirement and/or participation in the study had a greater impact than the intervention programme.

Trial registration

Clinical Trials NCT00122213.