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Am J Health Promot. 2011 Nov-Dec;26(2):e64-73. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.091029-QUAN-348.

The ACTIVATE study: results from a group-randomized controlled trial comparing a traditional worksite health promotion program with an activated consumer program.

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Park Nicollet Institute, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.



This study compares a traditional worksite-based health promotion program with an activated consumer program and a control program DESIGN. Group randomized controlled trial with 18-month intervention.


Two large Midwestern companies.


Three hundred and twenty employees (51% response).


The traditional health promotion intervention offered population-level campaigns on physical activity, nutrition, and stress management. The activated consumer intervention included population-level campaigns for evaluating health information, choosing a health benefits plan, and understanding the risks of not taking medications as prescribed. The personal development intervention (control group) offered information on hobbies. The interventions also offered individual-level coaching for high risk individuals in both active intervention groups.


Health risk status, general health status, consumer activation, productivity, and the ability to evaluate health information.


Multivariate analyses controlled for baseline differences among the study groups.


At the population level, compared with baseline performance, the traditional health promotion intervention improved health risk status, consumer activation, and the ability to recognize reliable health websites. Compared with baseline performance, the activated consumer intervention improved consumer activation, productivity, and the ability to recognize reliable health websites. At the population level, however, only the activated consumer intervention improved any outcome more than the control group did; that outcome was consumer activation. At the individual level for high risk individuals, both traditional health coaching and activated consumer coaching positively affected health risk status and consumer activation. In addition, both coaching interventions improved participant ability to recognize a reliable health website. Consumer activation coaching also significantly improved self-reported productivity.


An effective intervention can change employee health risk status and activation both at the population level and at the individual high risk level. However, program engagement at the population level was low, indicating that additional promotional strategies, such as greater use of incentives, need to be examined. Less intensive coaching can be as effective as more intensive, albeit both interventions produced modest behavior change and retention in the consumer activation arm was most difficult. Further research is needed concerning recruitment and retention methods that will enable populations to realize the full potential of activated consumerism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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