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Work. 2001;16(3):273-286.

Work-site health and fitness programs: Impact on the employee and employer.

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Boston University, Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Department of Occupational Therapy, Boston, MA, USA.


Physical fitness and health lifestyle habits have been reported to lower the risk of death from disease, foster healthy muscles, joints and bones, and enhance personal function and mental health. Given these benefits, many employers are implementing health and fitness programs into their workplace with the goals of improving and maintaining the health of their employees and increasing worker productivity. However, research is still being conducted to determine if these programs are an effective means of achieving these goals.


The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of these programs on employee physical and mental health, employee work performance, and the employer. This paper also investigates the effectiveness of the specific program structures and intervention procedures that were used in the employee health and fitness programs that have been implemented.


This paper analyzed 15 previously conducted studies to investigate the impact and design of employee health and fitness programs.


The reviewed literature suggests that the incorporation of an employee health and fitness program can have positive effects for both the employee and the employer. Programs that are structured using a variety of physical fitness programs, health education classes, outreach and one on one counseling with follow up contact have proven to be most beneficial in terms of employee and employer satisfaction.


The implementation of an employee health and fitness program can have positive lasting effects on both the employee and employer. In addition to implementing programs that offer a variety of choices and one on one counseling, employers would benefit from targeting the at-risk population to ensure that the programs benefit the greatest number of employees possible.


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