Physical Activity | Evaluation Measures
Once a company has conducted assessment and planning of physical activity programs, and developed the specific tasks of implementation for these programs, it is time to develop the evaluation plan. The evaluation plan should be in place before any program implementation has begun.
Metrics for worker productivity, health care costs, heath outcomes, and organizational change allow measurement of the beginning (baseline), middle (process), and results (outcome) of workplace health programs. It is not necessary to use all these metrics for evaluating programs. Some information may be difficult or costly to collect, or may not fit the operational structure of a company. These lists are only suggested approaches that may be useful as in designing an evaluation plan.
These measures are designed for employee group assessment. They are not intended for examining an individual’s progress over time, which would raise concerns of employee confidentiality. For employer purposes, individual-level measures should be collected anonymously and only reported (typically by a third party administrator) in the aggregate, because the company’s major concerns are overall changes in productivity, health care costs, and employee satisfaction.
In general, data from the previous 12 months will provide sufficient baseline information and can be used in establishing the program goals and objectives in the planning phase, and in assessing progress toward goals in the evaluation phase. Ongoing measurements every 6 to 12 months after programs begin are usually appropriate measurement intervals, but measurement timing should be adapted to the expectations of the specific program.
Regular physical activity is one of the most effective disease prevention behaviors. Physical activity programs:
- Reduce feeling of depression
- Improve stamina and strength
- Reduce obesity particularly when combined with diet
- Reduce risks of cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure and cholesterol ), stroke, and type 2 diabetes