Organization: DOW Chemicals
The Dow Chemical Company (DOW) has offered occupational health services for nearly 100 years, and formal health promotion programs have been in place for 25 years. More recently, DOW has been concentrating more specifically on chronic disease risk factors, including obesity. DOW partnered with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to deliver a worksite weight management program across 12 chemical plants in Texas, Louisiana, New Jersey and West Virginia.
The intervention involved increasing physical and healthy eating opportunities for employees, improving access to fitness equipment, offering weight reduction classes, and providing healthy food choices in the staff cafeteria and vending machines. After two years, results show that intervention participants maintained their weight and BMI while those in the control group gained weight and experienced an increase in their BMI. Furthermore, intervention participants demonstrated significant decreases in blood pressure, cholesterol values and tobacco use.
Worksite programs have the potential to have a powerful influence on employees’ behavior and health. In particular, alterations to basic work environments, such as introducing ‘walking paths’ and changing available foods, not only facilitates healthy behaviors but can also lead to improved employees’ perceptions of their employer.