APH 1998, 56, 275-289:

Workers participation in a nutrition education programme.

L. Braeckman, L Maes, M. Bellemans, M.R. Vanderhaegen, A.M. De Maeyer, D. De Bacquer, and G. De Backer

Keywords: health promotion, nutrition, participation, process evaluation, worksite

Background. Most studies on feasibility and impact of worksite health promotion programmes focus on health outcomes and do not report participation and process data. Therefore, we conducted a process evaluation of an employee nutrition education programme.

Methods. The study population comprised 361 middle-aged male employees who responded to a risk factor questionnaire and underwent a physical examination; 90% of baseline subjects were surveyed a second time at the end of the intervention period. The intervention programme consisted of personal counselling based on screening results, media messages, nutrition group sessions and environmental changes. Measures of participation, characteristics of respondents, barriers to participation and employees'perception of the programme were used to evaluate the education programme.

Results. At baseline, the overall response rate was 81 %, in nutrition classes 36% of the respondents enrolled. Unmarried employees, bluecollar workers and smokers were less likely to participate in these group sessions. Among nonparticipants, lack of time and existing good health were the most given reasons for not participating. The overall employees'rating of the programme was positive.

Conclusions. This project demonstrates that in a worksite education programme high rates of initial participation can be achieved. However, the diminished enrollment of smokers and blue-collar workers in group sessions supports concern that a health programme may not equally reach all segments of the workforce.