Cost-Effective Health Promotion for Older Workers

Also known as

Workplace Wellness Study


To compare the cost effectiveness of two health promotion/behavior change interventions for older adult workers.


The number of workers over age 55 is expected to increase from 19.2 million in 2002 to 31.8 million by 2015 (GAO Report, 2003). Given these projected increases, the development and testing of cost effective health promotion interventions for this population is an urgent national priority. If we can reach older adults while they are still working and engage them successfully in sustained health promotion activities, we may be able to make a major impact on future health care expenditures.

This project addresses this urgent problem by implementing and testing the comparative cost effectiveness of two evidence-based health promotion/ behavior change interventions: (1) the Health Enhancement Program (HEP, which has been implemented to date with older adults at Senior Centers across the country (Leveille et al, 1998), and (2) the Web-based RealAge program, which is also being tested for older adults at multiple sites nationally and internationally. Both interventions take advantage of cutting edge technology to administer standardized risk assessments, develop risk appraisals based on those assessments and provide a set of choices for older adult workers with respect to behavior changes. At present the comparative appeal of these two approaches to workers and the comparative cost-effectiveness of the two approaches is unknown.

The study addresses this critical gap in our knowledge by piloting, implementing and testing the comparative cost-effectiveness of these two behavior change interventions with staff 40-65 years of age at UIC using a randomized clinical trial design with 450 individuals. Process and cost-effectiveness data are being collected and analyzed in addition to self-report psychosocial and physical function outcomes.

Funding Agency

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion  (Grant No. 5RO1 DP000094)


Principal investigator
Susan L. Hughes, DSW



Richard T. Campbell, PhD
Deborah G. Dobrez, PhD
Rosemary Sokas, MD
Jack Zwanziger, PhD

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About this grant

Read about a related study, "Translatability of Wellness Programs for Older Workers," funded by the CDC.

Related publications

Hughes S, Seymour R, Campbell R, Shaw J, Sokas R, Fabiyi C. Comparison of two health-promotion programs for older workers. Am J Public Health. 2011;101(5):883-890. [See abstract.]