The effects of a health promotion-health protection intervention on behavior change: the WellWorks Study

Am J Public Health. 1998 Nov;88(11):1685-90. doi: 10.2105/ajph.88.11.1685.


Objectives: This study assessed the effects of a 2-year integrated health promotion-health protection work-site intervention on changes in dietary habits and cigarette smoking.

Methods: A randomized, controlled intervention study used the work site as the unit of intervention and analysis; it included 24 predominantly manufacturing work sites in Massachusetts (250-2500 workers per site). Behaviors were assessed in self-administered surveys (n = 2386; completion rates = 61% at baseline, 62% at final). Three key intervention elements targeted health behavior change: (1) joint worker-management participation in program planning and implementation, (2) consultation with management on work-site environmental changes, and (3) health education programs.

Results: Significant differences between intervention and control work sites included reductions in the percentage of calories consumed as fat (2.3% vs 1.5% kcal) and increases in servings of fruit and vegetables (10% vs 4% increase). The intervention had a significant effect on fiber consumption among skilled and unskilled laborers. No significant effects were observed for smoking cessation.

Conclusions: Although the size of the effects of this intervention are modest, on a populationwide basis effects of this size could have a large impact on cancer-related and coronary heart disease end points.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Education / organization & administration
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Occupational Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace