November 11, 2009
Worksite Wellness Programs May Reduce Employee Absenteeism
Emory researchers present findings on worksite wellness programs and norovirus at American Public Health Association Meeting
Emory University Rollins School of Public Health researchers will present Nov. 11 on a range of topics at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting in Philadelphia, including a study that found reduced absenteeism among employees participating in a large-scale worksite wellness program.
Additional public health research findings from Emory scientists are highlighted below.
Does faith affect how Southern African-American women use contraception?
Researchers conducted a survey of low-income, African-American women regarding how faith impacts reproductive health decision-making. Respondents showed a high level of spirituality and religiosity, which appeared linked to their beliefs about contraceptives. Emory researchers found that women's perceptions of their religious community's attitudes toward contraception play a mixed, but important role in the reproductive health decision-making of low-income, African-American women and should be considered when developing interventions.
Effects of environmental interventions on obesity prevention and absenteeism in a large U.S. company
Environmental weight management interventions were implemented in 12 worksites at The Dow Chemical Company in 2006-2007. Five sites received intense weight management interventions; four sites received moderate interventions; and three control sites received Dow's standard individual programs.
For the moderate or intense intervention employees, the average days absent due to illness per year decreased from 3.9 days in 2006 to 3.4 days in 2007. Researchers found that average absenteeism days at the moderate or intense sites were 1.5 days lower than at the standard sites between 2006 and 2007.
Cost savings due to reduced absenteeism were estimated at $414.90 per employee per year.
Gender differences in rural adolescents' reasons for refusal or acceptance of influenza vaccination
Little is known about adolescents' attitudes toward influenza vaccination, and whether such attitudes vary by gender. Participants were recruited from two counties participating in a school-based influenza vaccination intervention in rural Georgia. Researchers found that males and females were equally likely to report influenza vaccination. However, findings suggest there may be gender differences in reasons for influenza vaccine acceptance.
Norovirus human infectivity and persistence in groundwater
Norovirus gastroenteritis outbreaks are associated with contaminated groundwater, surface water and recreational water and cause serious morbidity and economic losses. To better understand the risks of waterborne norovirus transmission, Emory Center for Global Safe Water researchers examined how long norovirus remains infectious in water.
They found that norovirus RNA is detectable in groundwater for more than 1 1/2 years. It remained infectious in groundwater for at least two months and can pose a serious risk in untreated, contaminated groundwater.
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