The Effects of an Employee-Based Health and Wellness Program on Change in General Health Behaviors

Abstract

Purpose. To examine the impact of an employee based Wellness program on participantsÍ transitions between stages of change within the General Health Behaviors Questionnaire. æDesign. Prospective cohort study Settings. æA small multi-site medical business in Massachusetts. æIntervention. 70 employees were offered a 20-week health program, which included a free gym membership, personal training, health education podcast modules, and ergonomic evaluations. æMeasures. Data were collected at baseline, 20 weeks, and one year follow-up visit, including self-reported surveys, individual demographics and biometrics. Surveys included the General Health Behaviors Questionnaire, SF-36, and a nutritional survey. Biometrics included blood pressure, body mass index and heart rate recovery. ææAnalysis. Analyses, performed on SPSS, are currently in progress. Group comparisons were conducted using nonparametric tests and bivariate relationships were explored using correlations. Results. 44 (71%) subjects provided post-test data and 19 (43%) of those subjects participated in the long-term follow-up. Findings revealed significant advancements in behavioral stages of change following the intervention in participantÍs intent to lose weight (p= .035), avoidance of eating high fat foods (p= .01) and exercising three times/week for at least twenty minutes (p= .004). At long term follow up significant changes continued in participants intent to lose weight (p= .008). Nutritional knowledge showed minimal change from baseline to 20 weeks. Conclusion. Preliminary data is consistent with present literature indicating that participants do demonstrate changes in behavior while participating in a wellness program yet sustained changes are limited. Minimal change in nutritional knowledge suggests education methods should be further explored.