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June/July 2015 (vol. 12/1)

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Research Plus

Onsite physical activity programmes

Onsite workplace physical activity programmes designed to improve health do not reduce sickness absence, according to this systematic review of studies published between 2000 and 2015, and there is only inconsistent evidence that such programmes have any impact on productivity. Eight studies were included – three of high and five of moderate quality. Programmes varied from exercise regimes targeting cardiovascular fitness, strength and flexibility, to walking and yoga. None of the programmes had any impact on sickness absence (based on six studies). Six studies examined the impact of physical activity programmes on productivity, using measures such as the Work Ability Index (WAI) and Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ). One high- and one moderate-quality study found improved WAI and WLQ scores, respectively, following the interventions; while the others studies did not find any benefits. None of the studies found any deleterious effects of the activity programmes. 

  1. The impact of onsite workplace health-enhancing physical activity interventions on worker productivity: a systematic review. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2015; online first: doi: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102678.

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Occupational Health at Work June/July 2015 (vol. 12/1) pp36