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Arkansas Healthy Employee Lifestyle Program (AHELP)

Overview

Dissemination Category: Arkansas Healthy Employee Lifestyle Program (AHELP) is an emerging intervention based on its use of evidence-based strategies. Developed in practice, it shows promise but evidence in support of effectiveness is not yet available.

Intent of the intervention:  The intent of AHELP is to increase healthy behaviors including: eating fruits and vegetables, engaging in regular physical activity, obtaining age-appropriate health screenings, and avoiding or quitting the use of all tobacco products, among Arkansas state employees.  

Intended Population:  State employees in Arkansas.

Setting(s):  Worksites

Background:  The Arkansas Healthy Employee Lifestyle Program (AHELP) grew out of the Healthy Arkansas Initiative. The Arkansas Department of Health and the Department of Human Services created a worksite wellness committee that recommended an incentive-based intervention. The committee surveyed state employees and learned that money, time off, and insurance premium reductions were the most highly rated incentives.  In response to these findings, Act 724 (2005) was introduced and enacted, authorizing leave incentives (up to 3 days per 52 weeks) for state employees who participate in AHELP and earn target numbers of points for engaging in healthy behaviors including: eating fruits and vegetables, engaging in regular physical activity, obtaining age-appropriate health screenings, and avoiding or quitting the use of all tobacco products.  The bill also requires state agencies, when practicable, to identify and maintain areas for walking exercise. 

Length of time in the field:  The AHELP intervention was pilot-tested during the period February 2005 through June 2008 in 200 worksites serving 10,000 state employees.  As of November 2012, AHELP has expanded to 30 state agencies and over 500 worksite locations.