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Health Educational Strategies

Informational and educational strategies focus on the provision of information designed to increase awareness and knowledge as a requisite to motivate behavioral change. These strategies present both general health information, including information about weight loss and maintenance, chronic disease prevention and risk reduction, and specific information about physical activity and nutrition. These strategies do not include any environmental and policy strategies.

Promising Practice: Multicomponent Educational Practices

photo of an exercise classMulticomponent educational practices are aimed at providing information, with the curriculum/modules addressing health promotion programs (e.g., healthy lifestyles, physical activity, nutrition) and risk reduction programs (e.g., weight management, cardiovascular [CVD] risks, diabetes risks). In addition to health education sessions, these studies incorporated components such as 1) exercise prescription, 2) nutrition prescription, and 3) small media (e.g., brochures, pamphlets, electronic messages).

Evidence of Effectiveness

We identified 25 studies that evaluated the effectiveness of the use of multicomponent education practices.48-72 Seventeen studies45-51,59, 60, 62, 64-70 measured weight , with a resulting median effect size of -5.2 lbs. Five studies55, 57, 63, 71, 72 measured BMI and reported a median decrease of –0.46 kg/m2.

Examples of How These Strategies Were Implemented

Description: Supervised exercise for 1 hour, twice a week, aerobic training in 1st session, muscular fitness in 2nd session.48 Subjects divided in two groups by initial fitness level; participation by unit foreman. Three 2- hour lectures: motivation, leisure-time physical activity, nutrition.

Duration: 9 months

Location, Gender, Industry Setting: Finland, Female only, Healthcare

Human Resources: Physiotherapist

Financial Resources: Not reported

Description: The program consisted of 15 CHIP videotapes presented to groups that met for 8 weeks twice each week for 2 hours.49 The topics covered in the videos were: modern medicine and medical myths, atherosclerosis, coronary risk factors, obesity, dietary fiber, dietary fat, diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, exercise, osteoporosis, cancer, lifestyle and health, the optimal diet, behavioral change, and self-worth. Participants received a textbook and workbook that contained assignments with learning objectives for the topics presented in the videos.

Duration: 2 months

Location, Gender, Industry Setting: US, Males and Females, Industry Unknown

Human Resources: (Nurses, Dietitians, Corporate Health promotion professionals) presided at each intervention site and answered questions about the video presentations

Financial Resources: Not reported

Description: Worksite-based program for reducing risks of cardiovascular disease; involved two parts: a formal exercise program complemented by a classroom educational program
- 8 CVD seminars offered biweekly (alternate Tuesdays)
- Library resource, handouts, educational materials.50

Duration: 3.75 months

Location, Gender, Industry Setting: US, Males and Females, Industry Unknown

Human Resources: Exercise physiologist, clinic physician, private physician, cardiologist, volunteer health professionals

Financial Resources: Cost: $110/person per year

Promising Practice: Exercise Prescriptions Alone

Exercise prescription involves a planned or structured physical activity regimen given to an individual or group that includes specific recommendations for the frequency, intensity, and type of exercise.

Evidence of Effectiveness

We identified 14 studies that evaluated the effectiveness of exercise prescriptions alone.51, 73-85 Thirteen studies measured weight, with a resulting median effect size of –4.84 lbs.48, 70-72, 74-82

Examples of How These Strategies Were Implemented

Description: A worksite fitness program.74 Exercise classes were held three times a week at a local gymnasium. Each session consisted of a 5- to 10-minute warm-up exercise, a 30-minute walk/jog program depending upon the subject's fitness level and 5 to 10 minutes of warm-down exercises and stretching.

Duration: 6 months

Location, Gender, Industry Setting: Canada, Male only, Government

Human Resources: Not reported

Financial Resources: Not reported

Additional Resources

Healthy Weight
Information for employees about the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

Nutrition for Everyone
Proper nutrition is critical to good health. The CDC has compiled a variety of resources with healthy eating tips and information.

Physical Activity for Everyone
This CDC web site provides science-based guidance to help employees improve their health through appropriate physical activity.

2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PDF-8.49Mb)
This resource can help your employees learn about the health benefits of physical activity, understand how to do physical activity in a manner that meets the Guidelines, understand how to reduce the risks of activity-related injury, and assist others in participating regularly in physical activity.

Small Steps
This Web site offers tips to help you make healthy food and physical activity choices throughout your day.

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