233615 Reach and participation in internet-based worksite weight loss programs

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 2:50 PM - 3:10 PM

Paul A. Estabrooks, PhD , Human Nutrition, Foods, & Exercise, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Roanoke, VA
To improve the reach of weight loss interventions, the use of interactive technologies and delivering programs at work have been proposed. In this presentation, the reach of two different weight loss interventions delivered in 28 small- to medium- sized worksites will be described. Both interventions were Internet- and technology-delivered, and included emails, signs, and messages supporting healthful eating and physical activity, and an automated weigh station. The weigh station included a computer interface, calibrated scale, and camera to allow employees to weigh in and track progress regularly over the course of the 12-month interventions. The programs differed in frequency of email delivery (4 large quarterly weight-loss workbooks versus short daily emails with a weekly thematic rotation), time of weigh station availability (4 weeks at program initiation, midpoint, and completion versus year-round availability), and incentives for weight loss (none versus $1 per month per percent of body weight loss). Employees were recruited to the programs using in-person kick-off presentations at the worksites. On average, approximately 150 employees at each site were identified as overweight or obese and eligible for the study. Thirty-two percent of eligible employees agreed to participate and began the programs. Program type was a significant predictor of participation (37% incentive-based vs 27%; p<.01). Participants with lower health literacy were less likely to participant while heavier employees were more likely to participate. The results indicated that both technology-based interventions were successful in recruiting a large proportion of the target population, but that modest monetary incentives can improve these rates.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify methods to implement an email-supported weight management program at worksites. 2. Describe important issues related to the reach and representativeness of participants in Internet-based worksite weight loss programs. 3. Discuss the importance of modest incentives to increase participation rates.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working in the area of health promotion and the use of interactive technologies for behavior change in worksites for over 10 years. I have published over 80 articles in the area and am funded by the National Institutes of Health to determine the reach and effectiveness of tailored worksite weight loss programs.
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.