August/September 2014 (vol. 11/2)

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Research Plus

Wellness programmes for smaller firms

Small businesses – defined here as fewer than 500 workers – are much less likely than larger firms to adopt workplace wellness programmes, but there is at least limited evidence that they can be effective, according to this systematic review (19 included papers). In one RCT of a state-wide ‘healthy directions’ programme involving 24 US firms, employees in the intervention sites showed improved physical activity, and higher fruit and vegetable consumption, after controlling for gender, ethnicity, education, and job status. Barriers included the cost of the interventions, lack of facilities or space, lack of management support, risk of stigmatising individuals at higher health risk and employers’ fear of appearing too paternalistic. Most papers were of limited methodological quality.

Health promotion in small business: a systematic review of factors influencing adoption and effectiveness of worksite wellness programs. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2014; 56(6): 579–87.


Occupational Health at Work August/September 2014 (vol. 11/2) pp42