175269 Challenges and barriers to implementing a worksite health promotion program in rural Mississippi: Lessons learned from Mississippi in Motion

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Amy J. Thompson, Ph D , Adult, Health, Counseling and Vocational Education, Kent State University, Kent, OH
Michael Hall, Ph D , Department of Exercise Science and Health Promotion, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
Barry Hunt, EdD , Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS
Mississippi in Motion is a physical activity and nutrition education program based on Social Cognitive Theory and delivered in several worksites and communities in rural Mississippi. This 12 week program includes screenings, educational programs, and skill development sessions conducted by university faculty, students, and extension agents. The program served as a “kick off” for a multi-year collaborative worksite health promotion program. Although Mississippi in Motion has been successful in increasing physical activity among participants there have been many challenges and barriers in implementing such a program, particularly in rural worksites. During Mississippi in Motion, it was difficult to find educational session leaders to present various programs at the industrial sites. This was primarily due to the limited number of community agencies that are accessible and the large distance between the various worksites. Using university educators posed its own unique challenge as there was a significant perceived gap between community and academic professionals. Another barrier for employee participation was management concern about allowing work time to be used for health promotion related activities. Because the program was offered during lunch breaks, many employees did not or could not participate. Other barriers to the program were participant's lack of desire to participate, lack of trust in management, privacy concerns, management turn-over and time constraints. Some of these barriers were overcome through advocacy efforts, increased use of incentives, and use of employee peer leaders that assisted with program recruitment and sustainability.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to identify challenges and barriers for implementing a large multi-site worksite health promotion program in rural Mississippi. Participants will be able to identify recommendations for improving the success of rural worksite health promotion programs. Participant will be able to discuss solutions to barriers found in industrial settings in rural communities.

Keywords: Worksite, Rural Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Ph.in health education. I also have experience in worksite health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.