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The effectiveness of using the workplace to identify and address modifiable health risk factors in deprived populations

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Clare BambraORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Objectives: To establish whether a programme of targeted health screening, with referral to appropriate interventions, offered to an employed but socioeconomically deprived group was effective in overcoming barriers to uptake of such services and improving a range of surrogate health markers for participants. Methods: Low-paid local government employees from socially and economically deprived areas in North-East England were invited to attend a free health check. Health checks were conducted within working hours and close to their worksite, and included assessment of a range of lifestyle and health-related risk factors, including those associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). A range of additional interventions were offered where indicated. Participants were invited to repeat screening approximately 9 months later. Results: 635 (20% response rate) employees in the target age group (≥40 years) attended the first check. Most health risk markers improved in those (N=427) attending both health checks, as did the mean CVD risk score (t=2.86, p=0.004). 269 referrals were made to the intervention programmes. Conclusions: This workplace programme had a positive impact on cardiovascular health, but attendance rates were low. These findings suggest that workplace health screening activities may have the potential to improve health in a group often considered hard to reach by other routes, but do not offer a straightforward solution in overcoming barriers to access for such subgroups within the working population.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Abbas S, Pollard T, Wynn P, Learmonth A, Joyce K, Bambra C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Year: 2015

Volume: 72

Issue: 9

Pages: 664-669

Print publication date: 01/09/2015

Online publication date: 14/08/2015

Acceptance date: 22/06/2015

Date deposited: 05/02/2017

ISSN (print): 1351-0711

ISSN (electronic): 1470-7926

Publisher: BMJ Group


DOI: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102743


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