Increasing Awareness of the Importance of Physical Activity and Healthy Nutrition: Results From a Mixed-Methods Evaluation of a Workplace Program

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: To evaluate the impact of an online workplace program that promotes physical activity and health, while focusing on performance measures relating to physical activity, nutrition, and overall health. Methods: The large sample size (more than 18,000 participants) allowed the use of text mining and machine-learning methods to determine what descriptions of the program identify successful outcomes, and hierarchical linear models to determine the most beneficial program modules and features. Results: The program increased overall health and awareness of levels of physical activity and nutrition, especially for people who scored low on these measures initially. Interestingly, although physical activity is the most popular program module, the daily step–tracking process was associated with smaller improvements in overall health. Conclusions: This study finds that the Virgin Pulse Global Challenge is an effective workplace intervention for improving overall health and awareness of physical activity and nutrition. Effectiveness relates to the holistic approach adopted rather than to individual modules in isolation. Future evaluations of workplace health and exercise programs should explore a variety of outcome measures within the rich context provided by open-ended participant experience feedback. In addition, a control group and a follow-up study are required.

Meyer, Jayawar, and Muir are with the School of Health Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Australia. Ho and Sackett are with Virgin Pulse, Melbourne, Australia.

Meyer (dmeyer@swin.edu.au) is corresponding author.
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