An investigation of the health-promoting practices of Australian universities

Hayden McDonald, Ryan Gould, Deborah Delaney, Nerina Vecchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Workplace health promotion programs (WHPPs) are more likely to succeed where design and implementation accounts for the influence of health’s complex, systemic nature. Thus, a greater understanding of how frameworks developed to progress WHPPs are operationalised across different countries and industries is needed. This study investigates health concerns targeted in an underexplored setting—Australian universities, describing how diverse programs are implemented to target different health issues and health risk factors.

Method: Content analysis is used to outline how Australian universities implement WHPPs to target diverse health concerns. Content from 497 website documents is collected and analysed using NVivo software.

Results: A framework for examining diverse WHPPs currently used in practice is developed. Based on this framework, it was evident that Australian universities emphasised initiatives targeting health issues focusing on “mental health” and “diabetes”. Regarding health risk factors, “alcohol and other addictions”, “discrimination and harassment”, and “physical activity” were emphasised. Links between different health concerns targeted and corresponding WHPPs implemented, provide workplaces with a benchmark for designing and implementing programs.

Discussion and conclusion: University WHPPs targeted a diverse range of health concerns when enough legal and political motivations to do so existed. These findings about the motivations for improving employee health indicate a potential gap between health promotion benefits reported in literature and the appreciation for these benefits in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberdaab004
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Promotion International
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2021


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