Is Workplace Wellness Good for Your Blood Pressure?

A goal of many workplace wellness programs is to drive specific health outcomes. One new study looked at the correlation between the programs and blood pressure, namely: “To evaluate the impact of a 6-year workplace health promotion program on employees’ blood pressure.”

The study, “Impact of a Workplace Health Promotion Program on Employees’ Blood Pressure in a Public University,” took place in Malaysia. It notes that “Workplace health programs have been discussed frequently in recent years as a means to protect health and improve productivity among employees. Many workplace health programs have been shown to offer benefits such as reduced sickness absence, reduced medical costs, improved productivity, produced happier, healthier and more loyal employees and lowered disease prevalence.”

The authors also note the factors that can increase hypertension: “Non-modifiable factors such as age, gender and genetics as well as lifestyle factors such as diet, physical inactivity, smoking and alcohol intake are known to be associated with the development of hypertension. Lifestyle factors can be modified to prevent or delay the onset of hypertension.” As a result, their study “sought to determine whether a low-intensity workplace health promotion program was able to improve blood pressure among employees.”

To conduct the study, the authors “included 1,365 employees enrolled in the university’s workplace health promotion program, a program conducted since 2008 and using data from the 2008–2013 follow-up period. Participants were permanent employees aged 35 years and above, with at least one follow up measurements and no change in antihypertensive medication during the study period.”

The conclusion is clear: “The results of this study showed some improvement in blood pressure among employees who participated in a low-intensity workplace health promotion program. This suggests that repeat engagement in long-term workplace health promotion program provides an opportune setting to reduce hypertension risk among employees. Activities such as periodic health screening can serve as the first step to identify employees who are at risk while health promotion and intervention programs can help to increase awareness and encourage adoption of healthy lifestyles among employees.”