Reducing Stigmatising Barriers to Physical Activity: Findings From a Workplace Health Incentive Programme in England
1University of Northampton, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, United Kingdom
2Children and Women’s Hospital, British Columbia Centre of Excellence of Women’s Health, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
3Northamptonshire County Council, Northampton, United Kingdom
4University of Brighton, School of Health, United Kingdom
Stigma associated with overweight and obesity is a barrier to engaging in regular physical activity. Overweight and obese individuals tend to engage less in physical activity due to personal and public perceptions of being ‘fat’, despite the well-established positive physical and psychological health outcomes of physical activity. This study presents a workplace health promotion scheme that encourages people to be more physically active through an organisational incentives programme. The main objectives of this ‘health reward scheme’ are to encourage employees to adopt positive health behaviours through incentive-based motivation. To evaluate the effectiveness of the programme, a comparative pre- and post-intervention trial (N=100) was conducted, using ANOVA analysis adjusted for demographics and baseline characteristics. Follow-up interviews are analysed thematically. Findings presented will include before and after measures of physical activity levels, health and wellbeing, pro-social behaviours and testimonials of successes and challenges. Adopting an inclusive and supportive approach in built environments such as the workplace can reduce stigma-related barriers to physical activity.