Decreasing socioeconomic health inequalities is considered an important policy priority in many countries. Workplace health promotion programmes (WHPPs) have shown modest improvements in health behaviour. This systematic review aims to determine the presence and magnitude of socioeconomic differences in effectiveness and the influence of programme characteristics on differential effectiveness of WHPPs. Three electronic databases were searched for systematic reviews published from 2013 onwards and for original studies published from 2015 onwards. We synthesised the reported socioeconomic differences in effectiveness of WHPPs on health behaviours, and calculated effectiveness ratios by dividing the programme effects in the lowest socioeconomic group by the programme effects in the highest socioeconomic group. Thirteen studies with 75 comparisons provided information on the effectiveness of WHPPs across socioeconomic groups. Ten studies with 54 comparisons reported equal effectiveness and one study with 3 comparisons reported higher effectiveness for lower socioeconomic groups. Quantitative information on programme effects was available for six studies with 18 comparisons, of which 13 comparisons showed equal effectiveness and 5 comparisons showed significantly higher effect sizes among workers in low socioeconomic position. The differential effectiveness of WHPPs did not vary across programme characteristics. In this study no indications are found that WHPPs increase socioeconomic inequalities in health behaviour. The limited quantitative information available suggests that WHPPs may contribute to reducing socioeconomic inequalities. Better insight is needed on socioeconomic differences in effectiveness of WHPPs to develop strategies to decrease socioeconomic inequalities in health in the workforce.

Additional Metadata
Keywords health promotion, occupational health practice, public health
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2019-106311, hdl.handle.net/1765/125942
Journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine: an international peer-reviewed journal in all aspects of occupational & environmental medicine
Citation
van de Ven, D, Robroek, S.J.W, & Burdorf, A. (2020). Are workplace health promotion programmes effective for all socioeconomic groups?. Occupational and Environmental Medicine: an international peer-reviewed journal in all aspects of occupational & environmental medicine. doi:10.1136/oemed-2019-106311