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Workplace Health Promotion: What Public-Sector Employees Want, Need, and Are Ready to Change

Kilpatrick, Michelle BA(Hons); Sanderson, Kristy PhD; Blizzard, Leigh PhD; Nelson, Mark PhD; Frendin, Sue BS (OT); Teale, Brook MS; Venn, Alison PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 6 - p 645–651
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000161
Original Articles

Objective: To examine whether employees selected appropriate health change targets (HCTs) compared with self-reported lifestyle factors (smoking, nutrition, alcohol, physical activity [PA], sedentariness, weight status, and psychological distress) and readiness to change their HCT.

Methods: Cross-sectional data of 3367 state-government employees from Tasmania, Australia, were collected in 2010.

Results: Overall, respondents chose HCTs relevant to their health behaviors. The most frequently selected HCTs were PA, diet, and weight. The majority was in the “action” stage for their HCT, except for those nominating smoking cessation, changes to work characteristics, and moderating alcohol intake.

Conclusions: Employee perceptions of their own health needs broadly corresponded to their health-related behaviors, weight status, and stress. Workplace health facilitators should be prepared for variable uptake on smoking cessation programs. Physical activity interventions are likely well received, irrespective of risk-related lifestyle factors.

From the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania (Ms Kilpatrick, Dr Sanderson, Dr Blizzard, Dr Nelson, and Dr Venn), University of Tasmania; and Department of Health and Human Services (Ms Frendin) and Department of Premier and Cabinet (Mr Teale), Tasmanian State Government, Hobart, Australia.

Address correspondence to: Michelle Kilpatrick, BA(Hons), Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, University of Tasmania, Medical Science 1 Bldg, Private Bag 23, Hobart, TAS 7000, Australia (

The research has been supported by a Partnership Project grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia, and funding and in-kind support from the State Government of Tasmania. Funding bodies played no role in the study design, collection, analysis, or interpretation of data, writing of the report, or decision to submit this article for publication. Michelle Kilpatrick is supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award, Kristy Sanderson ( by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship, Leigh Blizzard ( by an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship, and Alison Venn ( by an NHMRC Research Fellowship.

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine