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Company Wellness Culture Reduces Sadness and Depression

Research published in the July 2006 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Health Promotion Practice, finds that an organization wellness culture can boost physical activity, improve fruit and vegetable intake, and reduce feelings of sadness and depression among program participants.

The UCLA-evaluated study of a demonstration project led by Community Health Councils, Inc. (CHC) in Los Angeles shows that incorporating physical activity and healthy eating into an office or other organizational environment can pay dividends for participants.

The study found that a six-week wellness-training program can significantly increase vigorous physical activity among participants. A 12-week curriculum, meanwhile, boosts fruit and vegetable intake while reducing feelings of sadness and depression, and can even reduce waistlines.

“Creating a culture of healthy living within an organizational framework requires buy-in by leadership, staff and clientele,” said Dr. Antronette K. Yancey, lead author of the study and associate professor of health services at the UCLA School of Public Health. “Both the physical and social environment must change.

“The model we studied holds promise for extending the reach of worksite wellness programming to organizations, at-risk populations and communities not traditionally engaged by such efforts,” she added. “However, many obstacles to organizational and individual engagement are apparent. Recommendations include offering a flexible menu of options that may be tailored to each organization and developing strong intra-organizational connections throughout the program to improve sustainability.”

The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) 2010 demonstration project, led by Los Angeles-based Community Health Councils, adapted and implemented an organizational wellness intervention originally developed by the local health department. The program provides training in incorporating physical activity and healthy food choices into the routine “conduct of business” in a variety of predominantly public and private, nonprofit agencies.

“Our goal is to increase life expectancy and improve quality of life for all ages by helping communities support programs that eliminate health disparities experienced by racial and ethnic minorities,” said study co-author Lark Galloway-Gilliam, executive director of Community Health Councils. “The focus of the CHC Organizational Wellness Program is on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes within the African-American community, where CVD rates are 20 percent higher for black men and 40 percent higher for black women compared to their white counterparts. And blacks are 1.8 times as likely to have diabetes as whites.”

UCLA examined the results of the CHC study of 35 organizations. More than 700 staff, members or clients–mostly overweight African-American women–within those organizations completed a 12-week or a six-week curriculum.

Among the findings contained in the UCLA analysis of the program:
• Feelings of sadness or depression decreased significantly among 12-week participants; fruit and vegetable intake increased significantly and body mass index decreased marginally with the 12-week program, with no significant changes in these measures in the six-week group.
• The number of days in which individuals participated in vigorous physical activity increased significantly among six-week participants but not in the 12-week group.
• Attendance and retention rates between baseline and post-intervention assessment were quite low for the 12-week curriculum (30 percent to 37 percent retention) but substantially higher for the six-week offering (66 percent attendance and 60 percent to 92 percent retention).

Source: University of California – Los Angeles

Company Wellness Culture Reduces Sadness and Depression

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Company Wellness Culture Reduces Sadness and Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 13, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2006/07/10/environmental-wellness-reduces-sadness-and-depression/82.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.