ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE: To assess the effectiveness of workplace interventions in improving physical activity.
DATA SOURCE: EBSCO research database (and all subdatabases).
STUDY INCLUSION AND EXCLUSION CRITERIA: Articles were published from 2000 to 2010 in English, had appropriate designs, and measured employees' physical activity, energy consumption, and/or body mass index (BMI) as primary outcomes. Articles that did not meet the inclusion criteria were excluded.
DATA EXTRACTION: Data extracted included study design, study population, duration, intervention activities, outcomes, and results.
DATA SYNTHESIS: Data were synthesized into one table. Results of each relevant outcome including p values were combined.
RESULTS: Twelve (60%) of 20 selected interventions reported an improvement in physical activity level, steps, or BMI, and there was one slowed step reduction in the intervention group. Among these, 10 were less than 6 months in duration; 9 used pedometers; 6 applied Internet-based approaches; and 5 included activities targeting social and environmental levels. Seven of 8 interventions with pre-posttest and quasi-experimental controlled design showed improvement on at least one outcome. However, 7 of 12 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) did not prove effective in any outcome.
CONCLUSION: Interventions that had less rigorous research designs, used pedometers, applied Internet-based approaches, and included activities at social and environmental levels were more likely to report being effective than those without these characteristics.