BACKGROUND: Internet-delivered behavior change programs have the potential to reach a large population. However, low participation levels and high levels of attrition are often observed. The worksite could be a setting suitable for reaching and retaining large numbers of people, but little is known about reach and use of Internet-delivered health promotion programs in the worksite setting. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed (1) to gain more insight in the use of the website component of a worksite behavior change intervention and (2) to identify demographic, behavioral, and psychosocial factors associated with website use. METHODS: The study was an observational study among participants from 5 workplaces in a cluster randomized controlled trial. At baseline, all participants visited a study website to fill out the baseline questionnaire. Then a physical health check was done followed by face-to-face advice. After this contact, all participants received an email to promote visiting the website to view their health check results and the personal advice based on the baseline questionnaire. In the subsequent period, only participants in the intervention group received monthly email messages to promote website visits and were offered additional Web-based tools (self-monitors and a food frequency questionnaire [FFQ] assessing saturated fat intake) to support their behavior change. Website use was monitored by website statistics registering website access. Complete data were available for 726 employees. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify characteristics of employees who visited and used the website. RESULTS: In total, 43% of the participants visited the website after the email to promote website visits. Participants who were insufficiently physically active were less likely to visit the website (odds ratio [OR] 0.63, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.45-0.88), whereas individuals with an elevated total cholesterol level visited the website more often (OR 1.44, 95% CI 1.05-1.98). The monthly emails in the intervention group resulted in higher website use during a 3-month period (18% versus 5% in the reference group, OR 3.96, 95% CI 2.30-6.82). Participants with a positive attitude toward increasing physical activity were less likely to visit the website (OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.31-0.93) or to use the self-monitor and FFQ (OR 0.50, 95% CI 0.25-0.99). Female workers visited the website more often to monitor their behavior and to receive advice on fat intake (OR 2.36, 95% CI 1.14-4.90). CONCLUSIONS: Almost half of the participants used the website component of a worksite behavior change program. Monthly emails were a prompt to visit the website, but website use remained low. More women than men used the website to obtain personalized advice for behavior change. No consistently higher participation was found among those with healthier behaviors. This health promotion program did not provide an indication that healthier subjects are more susceptible to health promotion. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN52854353; http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN52854353 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/5smxIncB1).

Internet, physical activity, nutrition, behavior change, selective retention, workplace
hdl.handle.net/1765/91026
Journal of Medical Internet Research
Department of Public Health

Robroek, S.J.W, Brouwer, W, Lindeboom, D, Oenema, A, & Burdorf, A. (2010). Demographic, behavioral, and psychosocial correlates of using the website component of a worksite physical activity and healthy nutrition promotion program: a longitudinal study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 12(3). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/91026