Evaluation of a workplace cardiovascular health promotion programme in the republic of ireland
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McMahon, A. (2002). Evaluation of a workplace cardiovascular health promotion programme in the republic of ireland. Health Promotion International 17 (4), 297-308
This paper describes a comprehensive evaluation of the organizational impact of a workplace health promotion programme, in the context of a framework devised by Nutbeam in 1998. The Happy Heart at Work programme, sponsored by the Irish Heart Foundation, has been in existence for 10 years and aims to promote a healthy lifestyle through specially devised modular materials. A postal census survey of 785 valid registered sites expressing any level of initial interest in the programme yielded a 40% response rate (n = 311). Of these, 194 (63%) were currently active and 114 were not. Active organizations were less likely to be Irish owned (54.5% versus 71.4%, p < 0.05), and more likely to operate in shifts (72.3% versus 51.1%, p < 0.05) or to have an occupational physician amongst the staff (36.9% versus 31%). Programme impact within active organizations, based on pre-defined Health Promoting Workplace parameters, was documented. There was agreement in the questionnaire responses that participating organizations promote a smoke-free environment (mean rating on five-point scale = 4.42), employee health and well-being (4.21) and good nutritional practice (4.11). Triangulation of research methods, including a telephone survey of gatekeepers from within organizations (n = 18), focus groups with participant employees (n = 42) and a review of the staff opinions of the facilitating organization on the programme, all showed strong concordance with respect to the strengths and weaknesses of Happy Heart at Work. The programme was felt to help improve employees' lifestyle habits and morale, as well as the company's public image. The main drawbacks of the programme were its relatively low profile, even in actively participating organizations, and the fact that it was not seen to be independently sustainable without intensive and ongoing support.