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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Exploring the impact of physical activity- and nutrition-focused workplace wellness programs on employee quality of life Lienhard, Katherine Elizabeth


Background: The majority of employed Canadians work forty hours per week, spending approximately seven hours per day at the workplace. Promoting and/or offering physical activity and proper nutrition at the workplace has been shown to increase activity and improve dietary choices both during and outside of work hours. Further, diet quality and activity levels together play major roles in a person's overall quality of life. Measuring quality of life, which includes physical, emotional, mental, and financial factors, is often conducted via survey, where results can be averaged to create an overall wellness score for each individual. Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine if nutrition and physical activity workplace wellness programs improve employee quality of life with the hypothesis that participants who participate will have higher overall wellness scores than those who do not. A systematic review with the same aim was also conducted. Methods: Twenty-eight employees at four Vancouver, BC companies with wellness programs were recruited to complete a survey. Data collection included the WellSuite® IV Health Risk Assessment for the Workforce (Non-U.S.) survey which contains 44 wellness-related questions. Employees who participated in their wellness program 25% or less of the time served as the control group. Data were described using descriptive statistics, contingency and frequency tables, ordinal logistic regression, one-way ANOVA, and independent samples T-tests. Results: The data suggests that those in the experimental group were more likely to have a higher Overall Wellness Score (p = 0.025), Fitness Score (p = 0.013), and to self-report higher life satisfaction and happiness than those in the control group. Nutrition Score increased with participation in the workplace wellness programs (p=0.035). Though limited by sample size and selection bias, this study supports the existing literature in the field and adds to the discussion on measuring quality of life outcomes of workplace wellness programs. Conclusion: The consistent and optimistic findings of this study are promising but inconclusive regarding the positive quality of life and overall health impact of workplace wellness programs that incorporate both PA and nutrition components. Future studies may benefit from aiming to limit confounding variables.

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