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Workplace physical activity in Wales: Literature review 2010

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175 million working days are lost each year in the UK due to sickness absence and there are 2.6 million people on Incapacity Benefit. This costs over £100 billion per annum, more than the annual budget of the National Health Service (NHS) [Black, 2008].

To date, responses to this issue have prioritised “treatment” interventions (e.g. return to work interventions for those on sickness absence). Interventions to “prevent” the onset of work related ill health, or to use the workplace as a site of health promotion have been largely absent or left to the discretion of individual employers. In this context, the Sports Council for Wales ‘Active Workplace Challenge’, a publicly funded and organised programme which promotes physical activity in the workplace is novel.

The health and wellbeing benefits of physical activity are well known (Department of Health, 2004). However, it is less clear how the workplace can be used as a site of promoting physical activity, and what the effects of such interventions are on employees and employers.

To assist in the evaluation on the Sports Council for Wales’ ‘Active Workplace Challenge’, this literature review maps out the evidence base on the health, wellbeing and organisational effects of workplace physical activity interventions. Specifically it summarises the evidence base relating to the following research questions:

  1. Can workplaces be utilised to increase physical activity levels amongst adults?
  2. What other (if any) health benefits do workplace based physical activities have?
  3. What impact do workplace physical activity interventions have on the organisations that introduce them?
  4. What are the barriers to, and motivations of, employees undertaking physical activity in the workplace?
  5. Which workplace interventions are most effective in attracting different demographic groups and why?
  6. What workplace interventions are most effective in particular workplace contexts and why?
  7. What factors are critical to the success (or otherwise) of workplace physical activity interventions?
  8. What support do employers need when considering, creating and running workplace physical activity interventions?



 editors comments   

Editor's comments - [   Sport Wales commissioned Shared Intelligence in partnership with Brightpurpose Consulting to evaluate the Active Workplace Challenge projects. We provide here both reports.The evaluation was commissioned in July 2009 and was completed in March 2011. Following a literature review [2010] and analysis of an on-line survey of employees in all funded organisations, the fieldwork with nine case study workplaces was carried out in two phases [2011], enabling the team to re-visit projects and examine the progress they made.  ]  Reference this?Cryer, J. (2013). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from In the text: Cryer (2013)


APA reference for this document


Reference :   Brightpurpose consulting. (2010). Workplace physical activity in Wales: Literature review 2010. Cardiff. Sport Wales


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Download this file (workplacepalit2010.pdf)workplacepalit2010.pdfBrightpurpose consulting. (2010). Workplace physical activity in Wales: Literature review 2010. Cardiff. Sport Wales
Download this file (workplace_physical_activity_eval_final.pdf)workplace_physical_activity_eval_final.pdfShared Intelligence, Brightpurpose consulting. (2011). Workplace physical activity in Wales; Final evaluation report for sport wales. Cardiff: Sport Wales
Last Updated on Friday, 29 March 2013 17:15  

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