The return of investment in physical activity - determinants of successful physical activity promotion programs at the workplace and in the context of childhood obesity

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Given that physical inactivity is a serious public health concern, as it is an important risk factor for various adverse health conditions, it is not surprising that the World Health organization communicates physical activity guidelines. However, unfortunately the prevalence for physical inactivity remains high for both adults and children, despite health promotion efforts on various levels. To leverage the fact that people in Western countries spend a significant amount of time at the workplace, this setting has been used increasingly to carry out health promotion interventions. Furthermore, firm leaders are themselves economically motivated to implement worksite health promotion programs, as benefits such as reduced absenteeism and increased productivity are expected. At the same time, public authorities implement health promotion programs for children suffering from obesity to address the problem early on. However, up to now there is limited clarity with regard to the factors, which determine if such a program in the context of the workplace or childhood obesity interventions is successful. Data & Methods: This dissertation intends to uncover predictors of program success in the context of the workplace and childhood obesity interventions. Real life data from business-to-business workplace health promotion providers forms the basis of the research on workplace health promotion. Data from 249 children who participated in an eleven month outpatient family- based childhood obesity program that has been carried out every year since 2003 at the German Sporthochschule in Cologne and a waitlist control-group (n=54) is used to assess the (cost)effectiveness of the program and to illuminate the question, which factors actually affect program success. Regression models have been deployed to identify associations between several factors on the organizational-, individual or program-level. A combination of a top- down and a bottom-up approach was followed to assess the cost-effectiveness of the respective childhood obesity program. Results & Conclusions: The analyses clearly revealed that social aspects such as organizational program support, managerial role model behavior and employee commitment to the firm have an impact on the effectiveness of worksite health promotion programs. It was uncovered that gamification approaches are well suited to promote employee engagement with corporate health efforts. Further, it was shown that a multicomponent childhood obesity program is an effectual and cost-effective tool to mitigate the problem of juvenile overweight and obesity.
Original languageGerman
Place of PublicationKöln
PublisherDeutsche Sporthochschule Köln
Number of pages97
Publication statusPublished - 2021