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The American Journal of Health Promotion  is a peer-reviewed journal on the science of lifestyle change.   The editorial goal of the American Journal of Health Promotion is to provide a forum for exchange among the many disciplines involved in health promotion and an interface between researchers and practitioners.
The Art of Health Promotion is a newsletter for practitioners published in each issue that provides practical information to make programs more effective. 

Now Available


Health Promotion in the Workplace - 4th Edition

Michael P. O'Donnell, MBA, MPH, PhD


Completely Revised and Updated

Two new sections | Nine new chapters

 Michael ODonnell

 From the Editor

 Editor's Notes: January/February 2015


  Michael P. O'Donnell, PhD, MBA, MPH


What is the ROI for Workplace Health Promotion?
It Really Does Depend, and That's the Point



Baxter and colleagues recently published a systematic review of the literature on the return on investment (ROI) of workplace health promotion programs. (1)  I described their review as ‘‘the most thorough and rigorous systematic review of the literature conducted to date.’’ (2)


In summary, their final analysis included 51 studies with 61 intervention arms, 261,901 participants, and 122,242 controls from nine industry types in 12 nations, with studies published between 1984 and 2012. The overall weighted ROI was $2.38 returned for every dollar invested, using the business method common in the United States (ROI = benefits / costs). The 12 studies with randomized controlled trials (RCTs) had mean ROIs of $1.79, whereas the 5 studies with the highest related methodology scores had the lowest ROIs, with a mean weighted value of .78.  The 30 studies using quasi-experimental design had a mean weighted ROI of 2.12, whereas those with nonexperimental design had a mean weighted ROI of 2.61. The highest mean weighted ROI (3.74) was found in the 25 studies that directly measured claims costs, rather than imputing them based on normal and customary charges or other methods. The authors reported 68 different mean ROIs to reflect weighting or unweighting of the sample, methodology quality rating, study design, location of the employer, year of publication, sample size, intervention focus, scope of the program, method to measure differences, source of the ROI calculation, direct or indirect measure of savings and costs, and method used to determine costs.

The responses to the article were widely divergent but not surprising. Scientists recognized its thoughtful structure and thorough nature. Critics of the field were delighted to see that the ROI among the highest-quality RCTs was less than 1.0 (.78), adding fuel to the flames of their claims that workplace health promotion programs do not save money. Blind loyalists to the field were distressed that any of the reported ROIs were lower than the ROI (3.27 from medical costs and 2.73 from absenteeism) in the widely cited metaanalysis performed by Baicker et al. (3)   << Read full article>>        Comment at our blog


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What’s Next for Health Promotion?  What New Approaches Will Produce the Best Outcomes?

March 30 - April 3, 2015



Core Conference:  April 1 - April 3, 2015Get the App

Intensive Training Seminars:  March 30 & 31, 2015
WELCOA National Training Summit: March 30 & 31, 2015

Manchester Grand Hyatt | San Diego, California


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Featuring Keynote Speakers


Definition of Health Promotion


Health Promotion is the art and science of helping people discover the synergies between their core passions and optimal health, enhancing their motivation to strive for optimal health, and supporting them in changing their lifestyle to move toward a state of optimal health. Optimal health is a dynamic balance of physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual health. Lifestyle change can be facilitated through a combination of learning experiences that enhance awareness, increase motivation, and build skills and, most important, through the creation of opportunities that open access to environments that make positive health practices the easiest choice.

Michael P. O'Donnell (2009) Definition of Health Promotion 2.0: Embracing Passion, Enhancing Motivation, Recognizing Dynamic Balance, and Creating Opportunities. American Journal of Health Promotion: September/October 2009, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. iv-iv.

 Physical     : Fitness. Nutrition. Medical self-care. Control of substance abuse.
  Emotional  : Care for emotional crisis. Stress Management
  Social         : Communities. Families. Friends
  Intellectual : Educational. Achievement. Career development
  Spiritual     : Love. Hope. Charity.