Workers aged 50 and older are at particular risk for a variety of diseases and disabling conditions that can erode their health and productivity and increase the costs of health care. Research has shown that worksite-based health risk appraisals and tailored, theory-based health promotion programs can provide cost- effective means to improve the health and productivity of the workforce. However, these promising interventions have not been specifically developed for, or applied to, older workers, despite the potentially greater need for disease prevention in this age group, and the likelihood that the return on investment could be higher for this age group than for younger workers. In recent years, Internet-based health improvement programs have been developed and tested in the workplace, and the evidence from several studies, including studies conducted by our organization (ISA) in multiple workplaces, has indicated that web-based health promotion programs can be efficacious interventions for improving the health of the workforce. Building on ISA's extensive experience in worksite health interventions (including previously developed and tested web-based interventions), the proposed project will develop and test an innovative web-based program - science-based, media-rich, tailored, and highly interactive - designed to reduce the health risks of older workers. The project will also include the development of a toolkit for managers that is designed to foster the adoption of policies and practices that support the web-based intervention and related worksite improvements. Phase I will involve the development and feasibility testing of the prototype, along with specific milestones that must met before moving to Phase II. Phase II will involve the full development of the web- based program for older workers, followed by a field test of the program, including a randomized controlled trial with a sample of employees. The EMC Corporation, a Fortune 500 company with 26,000 employees, has enthusiastically agreed to serve as the site for both phases of the project. The final program will be marketed to workplaces through concentrated efforts by ISA's Center for Workforce Health.

Public Health Relevance

Workers aged 50 and older are at particular risk for a variety of diseases and disabling conditions that can erode their health and productivity and increase the costs of health care. A variety of health promotion interventions have been shown to be effective for the mainstream workforce, and offer promise for improving the health of older workers as well. The outcome of this Fast Track project will be the development and test of an innovative, web-based health promotion program for older workers consisting of a comprehensive, tailored program for employees and a toolkit for managers. The effective development and test of this program could provide a mechanism for broad dissemination of efficacious and cost-effective health promotion interventions to workplaces and an ultimate decrease in the prevalence of disease and disability in older Americans.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-C (10))
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Bhattacharyya, Partha
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Isa Associates, Inc.
United States
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Cook, Royer F; Hersch, Rebekah K; Schlossberg, Dana et al. (2015) A Web-based health promotion program for older workers: randomized controlled trial. J Med Internet Res 17:e82