Project staff at Saint Peter's University Hospital recruited 101 volunteers from eight workplaces in New Brunswick, N.J., to participate in a community health fitness program called Finding Your Way Fit 2.
The project was designed as a pilot—and an expansion of a smaller St. Peter's community health fitness program—to learn how health care organizations and workplaces can work together to address the health and fitness needs of workers.
Among the participants who remained active in the program:
- More than half (58%) lost weight, decreased their BMI and decreased their body fat.
- 26 percent (vs. the study goal of 30%) lost 5 percent of their body weight and experienced a 5 percent decrease in BMI.
- The majority achieved a significant drop in blood pressure (75% decreased their resting systolic blood pressure nearly 9 percent).
- 70 percent (vs. the study goal of 30%) showed statistically significant improvements on the timed mile walk and treadmill, as indicated by a decreased heart rate.
Most participants who remained active in the program were able to cite at least one significant change in either their eating or exercise habits.
Anecdotal evidence indicated that family members of participants also began to eat healthier food and to increase their activity levels.
Participants were more likely to remain involved when their organization's leaders also participated and promoted the program at the workplace.