June 27, 2019

NIOSH Suggests Ways to Increase Participation in Health Promotion Programs

A new NIOSH study recommends that employers tailor workplace health promotion programs, or WHPPs, based on their specific work organization in order to maximize participation. The study was recently published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

NIOSH researchers found that nearly 47 percent of workers have access to WHPPs, but only 58 percent of those workers participated in them. According to the study results, the availability of WHPPs increased as education, family income, and personal earnings increased. Workers aged 30 to 64 were more likely to participate in WHPPs than younger workers. Workers in computer and mathematical occupations reported the highest availability of WHPPs, whereas workers in occupations such as farming, fishing, forestry, food preparation and serving, and construction and extraction had the lowest availability. Researchers found that workers in occupations with the lowest availability of WHPPs were also the least likely to participate in the programs. Workers who worked less than 20 hours a week, worked regular night shifts, were paid by the hour, or worked for temporary agencies were also less likely to participate.

Researchers noted that barriers to participation in WHPPs vary across occupations and include factors such as time constraints, lack of awareness, inadequate supervisory support, and lack of perceived need.

“To increase participation, employers should gauge workers’ needs before designing and implementing WHPPs,” NIOSH says. “A workplace free from hazardous working conditions should also have policies, programs, and practices within the workplace that advance the safety, health, and well-being of the work force.”

More information is available in the agency’s news update.