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Am J Health Promot. 2015 May-Jun;29(5):e169-87. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.130619-LIT-313. Epub 2014 Apr 10.

Effectiveness of interventions targeting health behaviors in university and college staff: a systematic review.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Evaluate the literature on interventions targeting tertiary education staff within colleges and universities for improvements in health behaviors such as physical activity, dietary intake, and weight loss.

DATA SOURCE:

One online database, Medline, was searched for literature published between January 1970 and February 2013.

STUDY INCLUSION AND EXCLUSION CRITERIA:

All quantitative study designs, including but not limited to randomized controlled trials, quasi-experimental studies, nonrandomized experimental trials, cohort studies, and case-control studies, were eligible.

DATA EXTRACTION:

Data extraction was performed by one reviewer using a standardized form developed by the researchers. Extraction was checked for accuracy and consistency by a second reviewer.

DATA SYNTHESIS:

Data in relation to the above objective were extracted and described in a narrative synthesis.

RESULTS:

Seventeen studies were identified that focused on staff within the tertiary education setting. The review yielded overall positive results with 13 reporting significant health-related improvements. Weight loss, physical activity and fitness, and/or nutrition were the focus in more than half (n = 9) of the studies.

CONCLUSION:

This appears to be the first review to examine health interventions for tertiary education staff. There is scope to enhance cross-disciplinary collaboration in the development and implementation of a "Healthy University" settings-based approach to health promotion in tertiary education workplaces. Universities or colleges could serve as a research platform to evaluate such intervention strategies.

KEYWORDS:

Colleges; Health Behavior; Health Promotion; Health focus: fitness/physical activity, nutrition, smoking control, stress management, weight control; Healthy University; Manuscript format: literature review; Research purpose: intervention testing/program evaluation; Setting: workplace; Strategy: behavior change; Study design: quantitative; Outcome measure: behavioral; Systematic Review; Target population circumstances: not applicable; Target population: adults; Tertiary Education Institutions; Universities; University Staff

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