Workforce Characteristics and Attitudes Regarding Participation in Worksite Wellness Programs

Am J Health Promot. 2017 Sep;31(5):391-400. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.140613-QUAN-283. Epub 2016 Jan 5.


Purpose: To estimate workforce participation characteristics and employees' attitudes regarding participation in workplace wellness programs.

Design: Data from a statewide stratified random sample were used to compare small (<50 employees) and larger (50+ employees) workplaces to estimate participation in screening programs and likelihood of participation in workplace wellness programs.

Setting: A telephone survey of employed Iowans registered to vote.

Subjects: Surveyed were 1171 employed Iowans registered to vote, ages 18 to 65.

Measure: Among questionnaire survey modules were items from the Wellness Council of America Employee Needs and Interest Survey, the U.S. Census Bureau for employment documentation, and the World Health Organization Health and Work Performance Questionnaire for assessment of sickness absenteeism and presenteeism.

Analysis: Prevalence of participation in screening and wellness programs was analyzed by employment size and levels of likeliness to participate, and multivariable analyses of employee baseline characteristics regarding participation in screening programs and likelihood of participation in wellness programs was presented as top and bottom quartiles.

Results: Those employed in smaller workplaces participated less often in screening programs. Multivariable models identified male gender and those with an abnormal body mass index were associated with nonparticipation, while having a primary care physician was associated with participation. Very few items showed significant statistical difference in willingness to participate.

Conclusion: Workforce characteristics and access to health care may influence participation in screening and wellness programs. Employment size is not a determining factor for willingness to participate in wellness programs.

Keywords: Outcome measure: participation; Research purpose: descriptive; Setting: state, workplace wellness programs; Statewide Survey, Employee Participation, Workplace Wellness, Health Promotion, Prevention Research. Manuscript format: research; Study design: quantitative, survey; Target population age: adults; Target population circumstances: employed Iowans.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Attitude*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cigarette Smoking / epidemiology
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Iowa / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / psychology
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health*
  • Patient-Centered Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Workplace / psychology
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult