We would like to thank both authors for their contributions regarding the important public health issue of workplace health promotion. In contrast to Prof. Lang’s introductory remarks, we do not see any significant differences in our positions. For the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces), health maintenance and –promotion of civil and military personnel was and is of pivotal importance. This is, however, not a matter of short-term or one time interventions. Rather, it must be ensured that personnel from almost all occupational, educational, and age groups stay healthy, have the necessary ability to cope with stress and display sufficient performance capacity under physically and mentally demanding deployment conditions both in Germany and internationally (1). Classical health protection measures are simply insufficient in this context: While medical screening, immunization, etc. are rather easy to implement, it is considerably more difficult to achieve a significant and sustainable improvement of exercise- and dietary behavior (1). Without modern, resource-guided, and interdisciplinary prevention research and its implementation in everyday life, only isolated, short-term successes can be achieved at best. This is why the scientific expertise will be merged into one Institute of Preventive Medicine of the German Armed Forces Bundeswehr in Koblenz in the future.
Compared with other health initiatives, participation in the model study was initially high (48% of the entire personnel) (2). With regard to the criterion “short-term success”, not only this level of participation but also the evaluation by our personnel has to be regarded as very positive (2, 3). Above all, the real challenges of virtually all campaigns are:
- to reach the target groups which would benefit most from the health promotion initiative,
- to motivate a maximum number of personnel to rethink and adopt a healthy and performance-enhancing lifestyle,
- to empower these persons to establish these behavioral changes in the long term (1).
In the light of these challenges, we are grateful for the contributions pointing to potential strategies which could lead to sustainable improvements in exercise and dietary behavior (4).
The perception of sports being fun is a key differentiator between those actively engage in sporting activities and those who are inactive (2, 5). The comments made by Prof. Lang concerning the importance of the motivation of the individual underscore our own statements (2).
Dr. Pöthig is right in saying that the stakeholders involved in the implementation of preventive measures need to rethink their approach and that significant changes in the healthcare system are required. Providing personalized, demand-based offerings and opportunities to experience a sense of achievement are certainly important approaches to win individuals over to participate in sustainable health promotion. Those enabled to better cope with the challenges in the workplace and at home are more likely to maintain a health-promoting and performance-enhancing lifestyle.
Prof. Dr. med. Dr. Sportwiss. Dieter Leyk
Zentrales Institut des Sanitätsdienstes
der Bundeswehr Koblenz
Wehrmedizinische Ergonomie und Leistungsphysiologie, Koblenz
Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln
Institut für Physiologie und Anatomie
Conflict of interest statement
The author declares that no conflict of interest exists.
|1.||Leyk D, Franke E, Hofmann M, et al.: Gesundheits- und Fitnessförderung in der Bundeswehr: Von ressourcenorientierter Präventionsforschung zur Umsetzung in die Fläche: Wehrmed Mschr 2013; 57: 162–6.|
|2.||Leyk D, Rohde U, Hartmann ND, Preuß PA, Sievert A, Witzki A: Results of a workplace health campaign—what can be achieved? Dtsch Arztebl Int 2014; 111: 320–7. VOLLTEXT|
|3.||Witzki A, Rohde U, Rüther T, et al.: Erkenntnisse aus der Gesundheits- und Fitness-Initiative an einer großen Dienststelle für die künftige Präventionsarbeit in der Bundeswehr. Wehrmed Mschr 2013; 57: 171–6.|
|4.||Leyk D: The preventive and therapeutic roles of regular physical activity. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2009; 106: 713–4. VOLLTEXT|
|5.||Leyk D, Witzki A, Sievert A, et al.: Importance of sports during youth and exercise barriers in 20- to 29-year-old male |
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