Availability of and Participation in Workplace Health Promotion Programs by Sociodemographic, Occupation, and Work Organization Characteristics in US Workers

Am J Health Promot. 2019 Sep;33(7):1028-1038. doi: 10.1177/0890117119844478. Epub 2019 Apr 23.


Purpose: To examine how the availability of and participation in workplace health promotion programs (WHPPs) vary as a function of sociodemographic, occupation, and work organization characteristics.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: 2015 National Health Interview Survey and Occupational Health Supplement.

Participants: The study sample included 17 469 employed adults who completed the WHPP questions.

Measures: The 2 dependent outcome measures were availability of WHPPs and participation in these programs when available. Independent variables included occupation and 8 work organization and employment characteristics: company size, hours worked, supervisory responsibility, hourly pay, paid sick leave, health insurance offered by employer, work schedule, and work arrangement.

Analysis: Poisson regression analyses were conducted with SUDAAN 11.0.1.

Results: Overall, 57.8% of 46.6% employees who have WHPPs available reported participating in these programs. This study found that adults who worked ≤20 h/wk, worked regular night shifts, were paid by the hour, or worked for temporary agencies were less likely to participate in WHPPs. Workers who supervised others were 13% more likely to participate than nonsupervisors. Borderline associations were seen for having access to employer-sponsored health insurance and working at a site with <10 employees.

Conclusion: Despite the potential for improving physical and mental health, only 58% of US workers participated in WHPPs. Since barriers to WHPP participation (eg, time constraints, lack of awareness, and no perceived need) may vary across occupations and work organization characteristics, employers should tailor WHPPs based on their specific work organization characteristics to maximize participation.

Keywords: National Health Interview Survey; occupation; surveillance; work organization; workplace health promotion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Benefit Plans, Employee / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Health Promotion / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • Workplace / organization & administration*
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult