The effectiveness of health promotion at the University of Minnesota: Expenditures, absenteeism, and participation in specific programs

John A Nyman, Nathan A. Barleen, Jean M Abraham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objectives: To determine the effectiveness of the University of Minnesota's worksite health promotion program in reducing health care expenditures during the first 2 years of the program; to investigate the program's effect on absenteeism; and to study the effect of specific disease- or lifestyle-management programs on both health care expenditures and absenteeism. Methods: Health care expenditures and absenteeism of program participants were compared with those who were eligible but did not participate. Differences-in-differences regression equations with random effects were used to account for selection. Results: Participation in the general disease management program over 2 years was associated with significant reductions in expenditures, as was participation in programs for certain specific diseases. No consistently significant absenteeism or lifestyle management effects were found. Conclusions: Although the program significantly reduced expenditures, it did not generate a positive return on investment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-280
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by Employee Benefits, Office of the Vice President for Human Resources, University of Minnesota. The study was reviewed for human subjects content by the University of Minnesota's Institutional Review Board as study number 08805E32782 and was found to be exempt From review under guidelines 45 CFR Part 46.101(b) category 4, EXISTING DATA; RECORDS REVIEW; PATHOLOGICAL SPECIMENS. This article has benefitted from the comments of Dann Chapman, Karen Chapin, and Ted Butler and of the participants of the Minnesota Health Services Research Conference and the Administrative Working Group Seminar at the University of Minnesota, Health Services Research Grand Rounds at the Mayo Clinic, and the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Conference in Washington, DC. Any remaining errors or oversights are the responsibility of the authors alone.


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