This randomized control trial (RCT) was conducted between August 9, 2016 to April 26, 2018 at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to determine the impact of a workplace wellness program on self-reported and biometric health measures.
- Academic Medical Center
- A comprehensive workplace wellness program named iThrive that ran at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for 2 years (2016 to 2018).
- The program included 3 annual components: annual onsite biometric screening/survey, an online health risk assessment, and wellness activities.
- Intervention group employees received paid time off to participate in the 3 components. They also received awards ranging from $0 to $200 per year for completing the screening and health assessment.
- Wellness activity classes were 6 to 12 weeks long and addressed topics such as physical activity, nutrition, and stress management.
- Participants in the intervention arm (n=3300) were incentivized to enroll in wellness courses for between 6-12 weeks.
- The control arm participants did not participate in a wellness program. Participants in both the intervention (n=3300) and control (n=1534) arms of the study were asked to rank their personal odds of having four different indicators of poor health.
- At 24-month follow-up, a larger percentage of intervention arm participants reported health-promoting behaviors than the control group.
- Self-reports of having a PCP significantly increased in the intervention arm, but there weren’t any significant effects on self-reported tobacco use, physical activity intensity, or mood.
- The intervention didn’t have any significant effect on the following measures: height, weight, waist circumference, BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol, or glucose level.
- The project timeline did not allow the authors to remeasure biometric outcomes after 24 months. Long term effects of wellness programs can’t be known from this study.
- Over 30% of participants were not beneficiaries of Health Alliance (UIUC’s insurance plan) at the time of the study, preventing the authors from collecting data on their healthcare utilization.
Reif, J., Chan, D., Jones, D., Payne, L., & Molitor, D. (2020). Effects of a Workplace Wellness Program on Employee Health, Health Beliefs, and Medical Use: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2020;180(7):952-960.