• Journal Article

Promising practices in promotion of healthy weight at small and medium-sized US worksites


Hersey, J., Williams-Piehota, P., Sparling, P. B., Alexander, J., Hill, M. D., Isenberg, K., ... Dunet, D. O. (2008). Promising practices in promotion of healthy weight at small and medium-sized US worksites. Preventing Chronic Disease, 5(4), A122.


INTRODUCTION: We developed a new evaluation method to identify promising practices for promoting healthy weight among employees at small and medium-sized worksites. METHODS: We used a structured rating and selection process to select 9 worksites with approximately 100 to 3,000 employees from a pool of worksites with health promotion programs reputed to be exemplary. A site visit over 2 sequential half-days at each site included interviews with senior management, program staff, vendors, and wellness committees; observation guided by a written environmental assessment; and structured review of program data on health outcomes of wellness program participants. The team corroborated findings from interviews, observations, and reviews of aggregate data on health outcomes of participants. Using the site visit reports, the project team and a separate panel of experts identified worksite health promotion practices that were promising, innovative, feasible to implement in a variety of settings, sustainable, and relevant for public health. RESULTS: Innovative practices included peer coaching, wellness screening coupled with motivational interviewing and follow-up, free access to fitness facilities, and incentives such as days of paid leave for participation in wellness programs. Introduction of incentives was associated with higher participation rates. To build the business case for their programs, staff at several worksites used aggregate data on decreases in high blood pressure, serum cholesterol concentrations, and body weight in longitudinal samples of program participants. CONCLUSION: The evaluation method identified promising practices implemented at small and medium-sized worksites to promote healthy weight and related favorable health outcomes