RIN Diabetes: Health Promotion and Prevention at the Workplace

More and more employers are offering their employees support services to promote health at the workplace. Together with the Regional Innovation Network (RIN) Diabetes at the German Diabetes Center and partners of the network, the state capital Düsseldorf has carried out a pilot project to implement preventive health care at the workplace with 100 employees.

The company health management of the state capital Düsseldorf and RIN Diabetes, together with partners of the network, have developed a three-month prevention program for employees of the city of Düsseldorf. This can be implemented in everyday working life and offers participating employees incentives for a balanced lifestyle. The program combines elements from the fields of exercise and nutrition. A telemedicine lifestyle intervention program, a pedometer program with an online portal and interactive health training as well as a holistic nutritional concept formed the three main modules of the prevention program, which the 100 participants could choose from.

Along with the main modules, the participants were able to take advantage of a large number of additional offers free of charge. These included a diabetes risk consultation, information events on nutrition and exercise, exercise courses, cooking courses and a stress workshop. The ideas and suggestions of the staff were already included in the planning phase of the additional offers. As a result, the prevention program could be tailored to the individual needs of the participants.

Professor Andreas Meyer-Falcke, alderman for Personnel, Health and Citizen Services of the state capital Düsseldorf, supported and closely monitored the project from the very beginning. He sees this as a successful example of prevention in the workplace. "We would like to provide targeted support for those employees in our workforce who would like to change their lifestyle."

"The scientific monitoring of the project was based on medical check-up examinations as well as questionnaires on eating habits, physical activity, work ability and health-related quality of life,” said Professor Michael Roden, MD, scientific director and board member of the German Diabetes Center (DDZ). The results show that all three main modules motivated the participating employees to make increased exercise and a more balanced diet part of their daily routine. The participation and satisfaction with the optional additional offers and the low drop-out rate in the main modules underline the positive overall conclusion of all of the participants. The project was also successful from the point of view of the project partners. The state capital Dusseldorf is currently examining the extent to which the pilot project will be used within the framework of occupational health management.

The results of the pilot project show that a prevention program has proven to be a successful and practicable tool for workplace health promotion. Along with several optional additional offers, there were three main modules to choose from – a telemedicine lifestyle intervention program of the German Institute for Telemedicine and Health Promotion (DITG), a pedometer program with Medisana's online portal and interactive health training, and the Weight Watchers At Work program created by Weight Watchers. The next step is to further analyze the effectiveness of the individual program elements. The results and experiences are being  incorporated into the BEPA program (exercise, nutrition and prevention at the workplace) of RIN Diabetes, which will be established in the future in further companies in the region and beyond.

RIN Diabetes will be funded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia until 2020. In 2016, the project received the award "Place of Progress". Further information can be found at :