Recruitment rates in workplace physical activity interventions: Characteristics for success

Gemma C. Ryde*, Nicholas D. Gilson, Nicola W. Burton, Wendy J. Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To conduct a systematic review to assess recruitment rates in workplace physical activity (PA) intervention studies and describe characteristics of studies with high recruitment rates.

Data Source. Electronic and manual searches were conducted. 

Study Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria. Workplace PA intervention studies that reported the number of employees invited to participate and the number who responded were included. 

Data Extraction. Studies with recruitment rates of ≥70% were categorized as high with the remaining studies (<70%) used as comparison. Key study characteristics were assessed. 

Data Synthesis. An approach called positive deviance was used to identify the extent to which study characteristics were unique to high recruitment rate. 

Results. Seventy-six percent of studies failed to report recruitment rates (n = 30 included for review). Studies with high recruitment rates (n = 8) tended to have longer study duration (mean 1.6 years) and target smaller cohorts of employees (mean n = 199) than comparison studies (3.9 months; n = 1241). For recruitment strategies and intervention components of high studies, involvement of employees was driven by the organization, with PA interventions provided as part of the working day in paid time. 

Conclusion. These findings suggest a potential to improve recruitment through targeting small cohorts of employees, incorporating PA as a long-term strategy, facilitating organizationally driven employee involvement, and providing PA interventions during paid time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e101-e112
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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