Purpose: To examine whether Army community members participating in a best-practice based workplace health promotion program (WHPP) experience goal-moderated improvements in health-related outcomes.
Design: Pretest/posttest outcome evaluation examining an autonomously participating client cohort over 1 year.
Setting: Army Wellness Center facilities on 19 Army installations.
Participants: Army community members sample (N = 5703), mostly Active Duty Soldiers (64%).
Intervention: Assessment of health risks with feedback, health assessments, health education classes, and health coaching sessions conducted by health educators at a recommended frequency of once a month for 3 to 12 months.
Measures: Initial and follow-up outcome assessments of body mass index (BMI), body fat, cardiorespiratory fitness, blood pressure, and perceived stress.
Analysis: Mixed model linear regression testing for goal-moderated improvements in outcomes.
Results: Clients experienced significant improvements in body fat (-2% change), perceived stress (-6% to -12% change), cardiorespiratory fitness (+6% change), and blood pressure (-1% change) regardless of health-related goal. Only clients with a weight loss goal experienced BMI improvement (-1% change). Follow-up outcome assessment rates ranged from 44% (N = 2509) for BMI to 6% (N = 342) for perceived stress.
Conclusion: Army Wellness Center clients with at least 1 follow-up outcome assessment experienced improvements in military readiness correlates and chronic disease risk factors. Evaluation design and follow-up-related limitations notwithstanding results suggest that best practices in WHPPs can effectively serve a globally distributed military force.
Keywords: army wellness centers; employee assistance programs; fitness; military; nutrition; population health; primary prevention; stress management; weight control; workplace.