Background: Lifestyle interventions have proven effective for lowering a cardiovascular risk profile by improving lifestyle behaviors, blood glucose and blood cholesterol levels. However, implementation of lifestyle interventions is often met with barriers. This qualitative study sought to determine anticipated barriers and facilitators to the nationwide implementation of an effective lifestyle intervention in the construction industry in the Netherlands. Methods: Prior to implementation, focus groups were held with 8 lifestyle counselors and semi-structured interviews with 20 employees of the construction industry, 4 occupational physicians, 4 medical assistants, and 1 manager of an occupational health service. The transcripts were coded by two coders and analyzed by constant comparison. Results: Hypothetical employee willingness to sign up for the intervention was facilitated by a high level of perceived risk, perceived added value of the intervention, and perceived social support. It was hampered by a preference for independence and perceived interference with their work. All professionals named a lack of time as an anticipated barrier to implementation. Lifestyle counselors suggested several strategies to improve the proficiency of their counseling technique, such as training in small groups and a continuous stream of employee referrals. Occupational physicians thought they would be hampered in screening employees and referring them to a lifestyle counselor by the perception that addressing employee lifestyles was not their task, and by a counter-productive relationship with other stakeholders. The manager addressed financial incentives and a good intervention fit with the current approach of the OHS. Conclusion: The findings suggest that employees can be motivated to sign up for a lifestyle intervention by tailoring the implementation strategy to various subgroups within the target group. Occupational physicians can be motivated to refer employees for the intervention by making a referral personally and professionally rewarding.
Tonnon, S. C., Proper, K. I., van der Ploeg, H. P., Westerman, M. J., Sijbesma, E., & van der Beek, A. J. (2014). A qualitative study of the anticipated barriers and facilitators to the implementation of a lifestyle intervention in the dutch construction industry. BMC Public Health, 14, . https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-1317