This study assessed health behaviors and preferences for wellness programs among employees of a worksite serving Alaska Native-people. Village-based Community Health Aides/Practitioners (CHA/Ps) were compared with all other employees on health indicators and program preferences. Using a cross-sectional design, all 1290 employees at the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) in Western Alaska were invited in 2015 to participate in a 30-item online survey. Items assessed health behaviors, perceived stress, resiliency, and preferences for wellness topics and program delivery formats. Respondents (n = 429) were 77% female and 57% Alaska Natives. CHA/Ps (n = 46) were more likely than all other employees (n = 383) to currently use tobacco (59% vs. 36%; p = 0.003). After adjusting for covariates, greater stress levels were associated (p = 0.013) with increased likelihood of tobacco use. Employees reported lower than recommended levels of physical activity; 74% had a Body Mass Index (BMI) indicating overweight or obese. Top preferences for wellness topics were for eating healthy (55%), physical activity (50%), weight loss (49%), reducing stress (49%), and better sleep (41%). CHA/Ps reported greater interest in tobacco cessation than did other employees (37% vs. 21%; p = 0.016). Preferred program delivery format among employees was in-person (51%). The findings are important because tailored wellness programs have not been previously evaluated among employees of worksites serving Alaska Native people. Promoting healthy lifestyles among CHAP/s and other YKHC employees could ultimately have downstream effects on the health of Alaska Native patients and communities.
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- Alaska Native