Changes in risk factors for non-communicable diseases associated with the ‘Healthy choices at work’ programme, South Africa

Schouw, Darcelle and Mash, Robert and Kolbe-Alexander, Tracy ORCID: (2020) Changes in risk factors for non-communicable diseases associated with the ‘Healthy choices at work’ programme, South Africa. Global Health Action, 13 (1):1827363. pp. 1-11.

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Globally 71% of deaths are attributed to non-communicable diseases (NCD). The workplace is an opportune setting for health promotion programs and interventions that aim to prevent NCDs. However, much of the current evidence is from high-income countries. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate changes in NCD risk factors, associated with the Healthy Choices at Work programme (HCWP), at a commercial power plant in South Africa.

This was a before-and-after study in a randomly selected sample of 156 employees at baseline and 137 employees at 2-years. The HCWP focused on food services, physical activity, health and wellness services and managerial support. Participants completed questionnaires on tobacco smoking, harmful alcohol use, fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, psychosocial stress and history of NCDs. Clinical measures included blood pressure, total cholesterol, random blood glucose, body mass index, waist circumference and waist-to hip ratio. The 10-year cardiovascular risk was calculated using a validated algorithm. Sample size calculations evaluated the power of the sample to detect meaningful changes in risk factors.

Paired data was obtained for 137 employees, the mean age was 42.7 years (SD 9.7) and 64% were male. The prevalence of sufficient fruit and vegetable intake increased from 27% to 64% (p < 0.001), those meeting physical activity guidelines increased from 44% to 65% (p < 0.001). Harmful alcohol use decreased from 21% to 5% (p = 0.001). There were clinical and statistically significant improvements in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (mean difference −10.2 mmHg (95%CI: −7.3 to −13.2); and −3.9 mmHg (95%CI: −1.8 to −5.8); p < 0.001) and total cholesterol (mean difference −0.45 mmol/l (−0.3 to −0.6)). There were no significant improvements in BMI. Psychosocial stress from relationships with colleagues, personal finances, and personal health improved significantly. The cardiovascular risk score decreased by 4.5% (> 0.05).

The HCWP was associated with clinically significant reductions in behavioural, metabolic and psychosocial risk factors for NCDs.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing (1 Jan 2015 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Health Research (1 Apr 2020 -)
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2020 00:12
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2020 21:23
Uncontrolled Keywords: Non-communicable diseases; workplace health promotion; risky behaviour; risk factors; cardiovascular disease
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health
C Society > 92 Health > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920505 Occupational Health
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