To examine how the availability of and participation in worksite health promotion programs varies as a function of individual (e.g., age), organizational (e.g., occupation), and health (e.g., high blood pressure) characteristics. Availability of worksite programs was also compared to that reported in two previous national surveys of private companies. Data analyzed were from the 1994 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a national cross-sectional probability sample of the U.S. civilian population. Five thousand two hundred nineteen NHIS respondents met the inclusion criteria of (1) being currently employed in a company of at least 50 employees, and (2) completing the NHIS section on worksite health promotion. Employees indicated the availability of, and their participation in, 33 different types of worksite programs. National Health Interview Survey data were also available regarding general health, blood pressure, body mass index, and medical conditions. Smoking cessation programs had the highest mean availability (43%), followed by health education programs (31%) and screening tests (31%). Overall, availability of worksite programs appeared comparable to that reported in a recent national survey. Participation ranged from 32% for health education programs to 5% for smoking cessation programs. Compared to availability, participation depended less on individual and organizational characteristics. Healthy employees were not consistently more likely to participate in worksite health promotion programs than nonhealthy employees. Although availability of worksite health promotion programs remains high, participation by employees in specific types of programs can vary widely. Attempts to increase participation should look beyond individual, health, and organizational variables, to specific features of the work environment that encourage involvement in health promotion activities.
James W. Grosch, NIOSH, 4676 Columbia Parkway, MS-C24, Cincinnati, OH 45226