Evaluation of worksite wellness programs
This research used quantitative and qualitative research methods to evaluate the effect of worksite nutrition education methods on employee behavior change. Quantitative evaluation was used to evaluate nutrition education provided to employees via newsletters and individual counseling with a Registered Dietitian. Each method of nutrition education occurred over a four-month time frame. All employees completed surveys and anthropometric measures (height, weight, and blood pressure measured) pre- and post-intervention. Qualitative evaluation was used to gather opinions/perceptions about the worksite nutrition environment (i.e. vending) via pre-intervention employee focus groups and post-intervention interviews. The intervention consisted of each worksite receiving a worksite wellness toolkit via CD-ROM discussing improvement in vending to implement over a five-month period.
Results from the quantitative research methods suggest improvement of nutrient intakes following the intervention for both the newsletter and the counseling groups; neither method was more effective than the other. Fruit and vegetable servings increased significantly from pre- to post-intervention with subsequent increases in estimated nutrient intakes of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and dietary fiber. Total fat, saturated fat, percent fat, and dietary cholesterol decreased significantly. This study suggests age was a significant predictor of estimated fruit/vegetable servings and dietary fiber intake whereas gender was a significant predictor of estimated potassium, magnesium, dietary fiber, total fat, saturated fat, and dietary cholesterol intakes. Results from the qualitative research suggest that intervention via CD-ROM is difficult to accomplish. After receiving the intervention via CD-ROM, just one of four sites utilized the toolkit. The site which utilized the toolkit was successful in accomplishing an improvement in vending, as well as the cafeteria.
Improvement in health outcomes and high returns on investment (ROI) make a worksite wellness program worth a company's time and money. Healthcare reform will be increasing the expectations and outcomes of preventive healthcare, including worksite wellness.