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Background:

Workplaces provide ideal environments for wellness programming. The purpose of this study was to explore exercise self-efficacy among university employees and the effects of a worksite wellness program on physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.

Methods:

Participants included 121 university employees (85% female). The worksite wellness program included cardiovascular health assessments, personal health reports, 8 weeks of pedometer-based walking and tracking activities, and weekly wellness sessions. Daily step count was assessed at baseline, Week 4, and Week 8. Exercise self-efficacy and CVD risk factors were evaluated at baseline and follow-up.

Results:

Daily step count increased from 6566 ± 258 (LSM ± SE) at baseline to 8605 ± 356 at Week 4 and 9107 ± 388 at Week 8 (P < .0001). Steps increased among normal weight, overweight, and obese subgroups. Exercise self-efficacy correlated with baseline steps (P < .05). Small improvements were observed in cardiorespiratory fitness, body mass index, blood pressure, blood glucose, total cholesterol, and triglycerides (all P < .01).

Conclusions:

A worksite wellness program was effective for improving physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and CVD risk factors among university employees. Exercise barriers and outcome expectations were identified and have implications for future worksite wellness programming.

The authors are with the Program in Physical Therapy, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.

Racette (racettes@wustl.edu) is corresponding author.