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Studies Prove Multiple Benefits of Worksite Health Programs

by Matrix Admin | Aug 01, 2011

BALTIMORE – Two separate worksite health interventions significantly improved employees’ health and fitness levels, as presented in a pair of studies at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 57th Annual Meeting in Baltimore.

In the first study, 12 overweight or obese, sedentary office workers volunteered to have treadmill workstations installed in their offices for nine months. The workstations had myriad positive effects for the employees, from decreased waist and hip circumference to lowered cholesterol levels.

“The health outcomes from the treadmill workstations all arose from one factor: more time moving and less time sitting,” said Dinesh John, Ph.D., lead researcher of the study.

Study participants nearly doubled their time spent stepping throughout the day, from 52 to 90 minutes, on average. Median total steps per day also increased by nearly 3,000 (from 4,351 to 7,080).

The second worksite health study examined the effects of a comprehensive worksite health program for a larger employee sample size (157), open to both normal-weight and overweight workers, most of whom were leading sedentary or low-activity lifestyles. Employees could design their own programs by selecting from numerous options including improved physical activity and nutrition, using resources such as weight-loss programs and access to fitness centers.

Workers completing the 12-week intervention and the six-month follow-up intervention experienced greater calorie expenditure per week and more steps per day.

“The most sedentary study participants showed the greatest increase in these areas and reached the low-active level,” said Sonja Stoffel, Ph.D., the study’s lead researcher. “However, they still needed to increase their activity levels to reach the recommendation of 150 minutes per week. A prolonged intervention may be necessary to help them reach their goals.”

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The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only, and should not be construed as an official statement of the  American College of Sports Medicine.

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