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Barriers and Facilitators to Implementation of an Occupational Health Guideline Aimed at Preventing Weight Gain Among Employees in the Netherlands

Verweij, Lisanne M. MSc; Proper, Karin I. PhD; Leffelaar, Evelien R. MSc; Weel, Andre N.H. PhD; Nauta, Arnolda P. PhD; Hulshof, Carel T.J. PhD; van Mechelen, Willem PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 8 - p 954–960
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182511c9f
Original Articles

Objective: To assess barriers and facilitators to implementation of an occupational health guideline aimed at preventing weight gain.

Methods: Barriers and facilitators to implementation were assessed among 14 occupational physicians (OPs) and employers and analyzed following a systematic approach using Atlas.ti.

Results: Barriers and facilitators mentioned by OPs and employers were related to the sociopolitical context, organization, OP, and guideline. Recommendations include the formation of a linkage group, collaboration with other experts, formation of peer support groups, and communicating benefits of investments, expectations, and ethical considerations. Results of this study recommend incorporating these barriers and facilitators in the guideline, including strategies about how to overcome barriers and stimulate facilitators.

Conclusions: The identified barriers and facilitators can be used to increase the chance of successful implementation of the final guideline into occupational health practices throughout the Netherlands.

From the Department of Public and Occupational Health and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research (Ms Verweij, Drs Proper and Mechelen, and Ms Leffelaar), VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Body@Work (Ms Verweij, Drs Proper and Mechelen, and Ms Leffelaar), Research Center Physical Activity, Work and Health, TNO-VUmc, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Netherlands Society of Occupational Medicine (NVAB) (Drs Weel, Nauta, and Hulshof), Centre of Excellence, Utrecht, the Netherlands; and Coronel Institute of Occupational Health (Dr Hulshof), Academic Medical Center (AMC), Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Address correspondence to: Karin I. Proper, PhD, Department of Public and Occupational Health, The EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center. Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, the Netherlands (

This study is funded by The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), project 120510007.

Ms Verweij is the principle researcher and was responsible for the data collection and analyses. Dr Proper wrote the initial research proposal. Ms Leffelaar assisted with the data transcription and analyses. Drs Weel and Nauta contributed to the design of the study and Dr Nauta carried out a focus group interview. Drs Hulshof, Proper, and Mechelen supervised the study. All authors contributed to this article and approved the final manuscript.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine