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92 FEWER SMOKERS, MORE EXERCISERS: MODEST IMPACT OF A WELLNESS INCENTIVE PROGRAM FOR FOUNDRY WORKERS.
  1. J. Pankowski1,
  2. N. Martin1,
  3. L. W. Raymond1
  1. 1Carolinas Healthcare System, Charlotte, NC, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC.

Abstract

Wellness programs (WPs) are common in American industry. Although some produce financial benefits to employers, the effects on health risks of workers are less frequently reported. We analyzed blood pressure (> 140/90 mm Hg, BP), total cholesterol (> 240 mg/dL, CHOL) and body mass index (> 30 kg/m2, HiBMI) measurements and self-reported smoking (SMOKE) and smokeless tobacco use (CHEW), excessive alcohol use (ETOH), and regular exercise (EX ≥ 3×/wk), from 11 twice-yearly health fairs during 2000 through 2006) in a pipe-manufacturing company with 1,240 workers. Annual turnover rate was 5 to 7%. Participation rates were 65 to 70%. Mean age of participants was 41.5 ± 11.1 (SD); 78% were male. A WP Incentive (WPI) was initiated in April 2004, which provided $500 cash for (1) being examined by a primary physician; (2) obtaining care for any (a) blood pressure, (b) dyslipidemia, or (c) diabetes thus identified; (3) attending a health fair and (4) if using tobacco, a cessation program. Our analysis compared 3 years pre- versus 2.5 years post-WPI, as follows:

Conclusion The prevalent health risks in this stable workforce were generally unaffected by the WPI, except for a decrease in (self-reported) smoking and an increase in workers who exercise three times weekly. The borderline-significant rise in the proportion of workers with blood pressures over 140/90 mm Hg is both a challenge as to causation and an opportunity for more effective interventions.

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