June/July 2013 (vol. 10/1)

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Research Plus

Unhealthy return

A randomised controlled trial of an experimental health and wellbeing programme for older workers at two teaching hospitals in the Netherlands found the intervention to be neither cost effective nor cost saving. In total, 730 workers aged over 45 years were randomised either to the ‘Vital@Work’ programme (designed to improve physical activity, nutrition and relaxation) or a control group. Vitality and need for recovery (NFR) from work-induced effort were assessed using two standardised questionnaires. Costs were assessed for the interventions, healthcare utilisation, absence and presenteeism. There were no statistically significant different vitality and NFR scores between the intervention and control groups and no significant cost savings in the outcome measures. The intervention cost on average €149 per employee and the return on investment was calculated at €2.21 lost for every €1 invested.


Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2013; 55(3): 337–346


Occupational Health at Work June/July 2013 (vol. 10/1) pp41