NIOSH study looks at participation in workplace health promotion programs

July 15, 2019

A new study by researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that close to 47 percent of workers have access to workplace health promotion programs, and that, among those, only 58 percent of workers take advantage of them. The study was recently published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Worksites, where most working adults spend their time, are an ideal place to offer health promotion programs that could improve workers’ physical and mental health. However, many workers with access to workplace health promotion programs (WHPPs) had never participated in any of these programs. Since each workplace is unique, the study recommends employers evaluate and tailor WHPPs based on their workers’ needs to improve participation.

The study, Availability of and Participation in Workplace Health Promotion Programs by Sociodemographic, Occupation, and Work Organization Characteristics in US Workers, describes the availability of and participation in WHPPs. The study also looks at how sociodemographic and work organization characteristics affect participation in WHPPs.

Results by sociodemographic characteristics

  • Availability of WHPPs increased as education, family income, and personal earnings increased.
  • Workers aged 30 to 64 were more likely than younger workers to participate in WHPPs.
  • Non-Hispanic black workers were more likely than Non-Hispanic white workers to participate in WHPPs.

Results by occupation

  • Occupations with the highest availability of WHPPs were computer and mathematics related (76.1 percent), while workers in farming, fishing, and forestry (3.1 percent), food preparation and serving related (17.2 percent), and construction and extraction (23.7 percent) occupations reported the lowest availability.
  • Occupations with the highest participation (given availability of WHPPs) were arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media (68.4 percent); management (68 percent); and community and social services (66.7 percent) occupations, while farming, fishing, and forestry (26 percent); food preparation and serving related (42.4 percent); and construction and extraction (45.3 percent) were least likely to participate.

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