Chapter 24 Worksite Health Promotion for Obesity Prevention

Chapter 24 Worksite Health Promotion for Obesity Prevention

Chapter 24 – Worksite Health Promotion for Obesity Prevention


  1. Identify the estimated direct and indirect costs of overweight.
  2. Describe the outcomes of cost-effectiveness studies on worksite wellness programs.
  3. Describe the guidelines for development and implementation of worksite wellness programs.
  4. Explain the major program evaluation approaches, including formative, summative, quantitative and qualitative methods.
Chapter 24 – Worksite Health Promotion for Obesity Prevention


  1. The direct cost of overweight and obesity (BMI ≥25 kg/m2) is the cost to the community, related to the diversion of resources to the diagnosis of diseases directly related to overweight and obesity, as well as to the treatment of overweight and obesity. It includes the cost of medical insurance, hospitalizations, medical tests and procedures, and medications. These costs reportedly accounted for 9.1% of the total U.S. medical expenditures in 1998, approximately 78.5 billion dollars. Rates of overweight and obesity, as well as the cost of healthcare, have risen dramatically since that time, therefore the direct costs have increased considerably.

The indirect costs of overweight and obesity are due to absenteeism, disability pensions, and premature death. Indirect costs are more difficult to quantify than direct costs, because there is some controversy as to which costs can be indirectly attributed to overweight or obesity. Every week, millions of workdays are lost due to illnesses that result from obesity; the cost to employers in lost productivity is more than $47 billion a year

  1. In one study, The return on investment (ROI) has been estimated to be about $4.50 saved per dollar spent on the program, and in another, it was $3 to $6 for each dollar invested over a 2- to 5-year period. However, there is still a great need for systematic, evidence-based research on worksite wellness interventions.
  1. List the main evidence-based theories and approaches: 1)Behavior Staging, 2) Health Belief Model and 3) Social Marketing

Identify the health issue, goals, and intervention: In the initial stages of planning a wellness program, a health issue of importance is identified and goals and objectives for the planning, implementation, evaluation, and program outcomes are generated. Though an issue like the problem of overweight or obesity may seem obvious, a formal evaluation to determine incidence of health issues and employee impression of health problems will help to determine what the program focus will be. After determining which health issue will be addressed by the program, goal outcomes are selected. Program interventions, like modifying cafeteria meal offerings and vending machine options and BMI awareness campaigns, should be tailored to the population’s health issue of concern and the program goals.

  1. Evaluation has been defined as the systematic acquisition and assessment of information in order to provide useful feedback . Formative evaluation is the process of evaluating the program as it progresses. A summative evaluation is conducted at the conclusion of a program. This type of evaluation helps to determine whether the program met its objectives and was cost-effective. Quantitative methods are used to statistically validate hypotheses and to provide us with measurements of change in audience behavior over time. . This type of evaluation uses methods that provide numerical data, which allows the researcher to analyze the results using statistical methods. Qualitative research methods differ in that they “involve the systematic collection, organization, and interpretation of textual material derived from talk or observation”. This type of evaluation is more likely to provide answers to “why” and “how” questions about the change process. As quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods each have unique benefits, both should be used to yield the most telling evaluation of the worksite wellness program.

Understanding Obesity: Biological, Psychological and Cultural Influences. Edited by Sharon Akabas, Sally Ann Lederman and Barbara J. Moore. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.