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Effects of environmentally‐focused interventions on health risks and absenteeism

Mary L. Marzec (Health Management Research Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)
Thomas Golaszewski (Department of Health Science, State University of New York at Brockport, Brockport, New York, USA)
Shirley Musich (Ingenix, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)
Patricia E. Powers (Powers & Associates, Carmichael, California, USA)
Sandra Shewry (Center for Connected Health Policy, Sacramento, California, USA)
Dee W. Edington (Health Management Research Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Article publication date: 27 September 2011




The purpose of this study is to determine results of an environmental approach to improving employee health status in a government employer setting.


This is an observational study of one worksite and its employees from 2005 to 2007. Environmental interventions were part of the worksite environment, accessible, and applicable to employees regardless of health status. Outcomes were: change in the worksite environment using the Heart Check assessment, change in employee health risks using health risk appraisals (HRAs) and change in hours of sick time. The eligible population included active employees from 2005 to 2007 (n=2,276).


The Heart Check score increased by 26 percentage points. Despite aging of HRA participants, results showed maintenance of risk status with a non‐significant increase in percent at low risk (51.6 percent to 53.1 percent). Percent at high risk had a non‐significant decrease (21.1 percent to 20.2 percent). The three‐month average for hours of sick time decreased from 12.7 to 11.6 hours (p=0.03) for the larger eligible population.


This paper offers qualitative information for others seeking to implement population‐based health promotion interventions. This particular setting presented challenges related to union and non‐union regulations, sub‐contractors, and multiple administrative levels. Quantitatively, change of health risks and absenteeism serves as a reference to others engaging in workplace health promotion.



Marzec, M.L., Golaszewski, T., Musich, S., Powers, P.E., Shewry, S. and Edington, D.W. (2011), "Effects of environmentally‐focused interventions on health risks and absenteeism", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 200-215.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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