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Arkansas Healthy Employee Lifestyle Program (AHELP)

Underlying Theory/Evidence

AHELP is an emerging intervention and evidence in support of effectiveness is not yet available.

Strategies Used1

  • Increasing access to and number of places for physical activity within worksites. Increasing access to places or facilities for physical activity includes those strategies that seek to (1) increase the number of physical spaces where people can engage in physical activity, or (2) make existing physical spaces for physical activity more accessible. Spaces can include walking or biking trails, fitness centers, community centers, and recreation spaces (e.g., community playground). Specific intervention components designed to increase the accessibility of existing physical spaces include: making sure physical activity facilities are safe, clean, and appealing, and/or extending operation hours to accommodate a variety of daily schedules. This strategy of increasing access is often used in combination with informational and social support strategies, or as part of a community-wide campaign.
  • Social support for physical activity: This strategy provides a supportive environment for individuals’ attempting to increase and sustain regular physical activity. Social support interventions for physical activity can focus on existing social networks or creating new social networks. Such interventions might aim to increase social support within the family (targeting the family as a whole, the parents, or the spouse/partner), the faith community, the worksite, or other community-based sectors. Techniques regularly used in social support interventions include group-oriented goal setting, problem solving, discussion, and physical activity opportunities or events.
  • Individual counseling about healthy eating: Individual (or personal) counseling is an effective strategy for positively changing an individual’s healthy eating behaviors. Personal counseling for healthy eating includes one-on-one counseling using techniques such as motivational interviewing or peer education. Personal counseling can be implemented in a variety of formats, including face-to-face, via computer, and over the telephone.

Guided by a CDC expert panel, a Swift Worksite Assessment and Translation (SWAT) review was completed to identify promising practices to promote healthy weight and related favorable health outcomes in small (2.  The AHELP program includes several of the promising strategies identified by the SWAT review, one for each of three levels of the SE model (individual, environmental, and organizational):

  • Periodic health assessments tied to personal feedback (Individual)
  • Free access to onsite physical activity facilities (Environmental)
  • Incentive of paid day of leave to encourage program participation (Organizational)

A full description of the intervention strategies used can be found on the Center TRT website with references to the sources of evidence to support the strategies. 

2 Hersey J, Williams-Piehota P, Sparling PB, Alexander J, Hill MD, Isenberg KB, et al. Promising practices in promotion of healthy weight at small and medium-sized US worksites. Prev Chronic Dis 2008;5(4). http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2008/oct/07_0172.htm. Accessed 10/05/09.