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The internet is gaining popularity as a means of delivering employee-based cardiovascular (CV) wellness interventions though little is known about the cardiovascular health outcomes of these programs. In this review, we examined the effectiveness of internet-based employee cardiovascular wellness and prevention programs.
We conducted a systematic review by searching PubMed, Web of Science and Cochrane library for all published studies on internet-based programs aimed at improving CV health among employees up to November 2012. We grouped the outcomes according to the American Heart Association (AHA) indicators of cardiovascular wellbeing – weight, BP, lipids, smoking, physical activity, diet, and blood glucose.
A total of 18 randomized trials and 11 follow-up studies met our inclusion/exclusion criteria. Follow-up duration ranged from 6 – 24 months. There were significant differences in intervention types and number of components in each intervention. Modest improvements were observed in more than half of the studies with weight related outcomes while no improvement was seen in virtually all the studies with physical activity outcome. In general, internet-based programs were more successful if the interventions also included some physical contact and environmental modification, and if they were targeted at specific disease entities such as hypertension. Only a few of the studies were conducted in persons at-risk for CVD, none in blue-collar workers or low-income earners.
Internet based programs hold promise for improving the cardiovascular wellness among employees however much work is required to fully understand its utility and long term impact especially in special/at-risk populations.
Aneni EC, Roberson LL, Maziak W, Agatston AS, Feldman T, et al. (2014) A Systematic Review of Internet-Based Worksite Wellness Approaches for Cardiovascular Disease Risk Management: Outcomes, Challenges & Opportunities. PLoS ONE 9(1): e83594. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083594