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The purpose of this study is to illustrate and investigate the importance of physical fitness to company performance and productivity, by comparing previous researches on this area. This study focuses on the importance of physical fitness and its effect on employee health, performance and productivity in organizations. The number of health promotion programs in workplace settings has continued to grow. Although employers’ rationales vary, health promotion programs may yield economic benefits such as reduced absenteeism, presentism, employee health care costs and employee turnover. The data for the study is collected from various sources namely articles from 1969 to 1999 and 2000 to 2015. The methodology adopted is qualitative and the findings are based on reliable data with respect to the economic impact of worksite physical fitness activity programs. Most, if not all, researches in this field have been performed in developed and high income countries. This research recommends improvements and further studies on physical fitness on company performance and offers some suggestions for further research. © 2016 Maryam Etemadi, Kamyar Shameli, Norihan Abu Hassan, Zuriati Zakaria, Nurul Bahiyah Binti Ahmad Khairudin and Hirofumi Hara.
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© 2016 Maryam Etemad i, Kamyar Sham eli, Norihan Abu Hassan, Zuriati Zakaria, Nurul Bahiyah Binti Ahmad Khairudin
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American Journal of Applied Sciences
Review Articles
A Review of the Importance of Physical Fitness to Company
Performance and Productivity
1Maryam Etemadi, 1Kamyar Shameli, 2Norihan Abu Hassan,
1Zuriati Zakaria, 1Nurul Bahiyah Binti Ahmad Khairudin and 1Hirofumi Hara
1Malaysian-Japan International Institute and Technology,
2Perdana School of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy,
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Semarak, 54100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Article history
Received: 11-12-2015
Revised: 12-05-2016
Accepted: 02-11-2016
Corresponding Authors:
Kamyar Shameli
Malaysian-Japan International
Institute and Technology,
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia,
Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Semarak,
54100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 22031228
Email: kamyarshameli@gmail.com
Norihan Abu Hassan
Perdana School of Science,
Technology and Innovation
Policy, Universiti Teknologi
Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Jalan
Semarak, 54100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6017 3443492
Email: norihanah.kl@utm.my
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to illustrate and investigate the
importance of physical fitness to company performance and
productivity, by comparing previous researches on this area. This study
focuses on the importance of physical fitness and its effect on employee
health, performance and productivity in organizations. The number of
health promotion programs in workplace settings has continued to grow.
Although employers’ rationales vary, health promotion programs may
yield economic benefits such as reduced absenteeism, presentism,
employee health care costs and employee turnover. The data for the
study is collected from various sources namely articles from 1969 to
1999 and 2000 to 2015. The methodology adopted is qualitative and the
findings are based on reliable data with respect to the economic impact
of worksite physical fitness activity programs. Most, if not all,
researches in this field have been performed in developed and high-
income countries. This research recommends improvements and further
studies on physical fitness on company performance and offers some
suggestions for further research.
Keywords: Physical Fitness, Company Performance, Productivity,
Employee, Exercise
Introduction
Physical fitness has been gaining considerable
attention in industries from both, employers and
employees over the last few years. People spend most of
their time at the workplace, which is utilized by many to
share as well as receive messages of health (Kelly,
2000). Poor employee health means reduced productivity
and increased expenses for the employer. This is the
main reason why many global organizations are giving
serious attention to various health programs or fitness
activities (Dursi, 2008). Many organizations have
focused on addressing their employees’ health
aspects, even before anything happens since
prevention is better than cure. Organizations usually
get aware of the issues via increased large claims and
immediately focus on lowering costs instead of
enhancing health and promoting better physical and
mental wellbeing for the workers. In addition, they have
to manage the costs related to productivity loss from the
employees who are absent from work.
Employees who are lean as well as active are seen as
more productive than the ones who are inactive and
overweight. The scientific proof for the effectiveness of
workplace physical fitness activities on productivity is
irrefutable. The rationale behind the workplace physical
programs implementation is transparent, given the job
related gains of physical activity as well fitness and the
costs of obesity (Selecky, 2007). The idea of the
relationship between productivity and physical fitness of
an employee needs no justification. It is evident from the
thinking that only a physically fit individual can perform
more physically demanding tasks at work and withstand
workload pressures and over-time. As such, a person
who is physically fit can serve better at work and be
productive compared to an unfit person (Sharifzadeh,
2013). Employee health promotion programs have
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resulted in reduced absenteeism and job related injuries.
Both of these help employers reduce unwanted
expenditures related to HRM. Employees who regularly
take part in physical fitness programs at work tend to
have less involuntary absenteeism. As such, in every
possible way, employee physical fitness programs can
physically enhance an individual as well as reduce the
extra expenditures undertaken by the organization in
managing ill health and lower productivity at work
(Wattles and Harris, 1997). Employees who have three
or more health related risks show a 30% higher rate of
absenteeism and a 38% higher rate of health related
expenditures at work. The World Health Organization
(WHO) defines the condition of being healthy as a state
of full mental and physical wellbeing. Considering
these aspects, many modern day organizations that are
termed as ‘Health Conscious Enterprises’ have started
serious initiatives towards the wellbeing of their
employees. They carry out physical fitness programs by
being in partnership with their employees on health issues
and in preventive care. Healthcare initiatives target to
optimize the fitness aspects and not just simply to
eliminate the risks. This paradigm shift is visible in the
orientation of many enterprises as they strive to be a
completely health focused enterprise (Gibbs and
Cartwright, 2010). These days, lifestyle diseases are rather
common. Unhealthy food habits or unhealthy living style
makes many people diabetic, develop hypertension, etc.
These disorders can at a later stage turn in to serious
ailments related to the heart and so on. As a result, the
employees will become unproductive. Such employees
will incur more costs in terms of health related
expenditure at work with increased absenteeism.
Employers are considering to such indirect costs, which
can be reduced with a proper fitness program at the
workplace. This study is important for companies given
the economic impact of workplace physical activity and
for the promotion of health and wellness among
employees. In doing so, this study describes the evidence
for the importance of physical activity and its influence on
health-related and work-related outcomes. This will be
done through the analysis of published researches from
which the evidences will be used by this study to review
and investigate the relationship between physical activity
and company performance and productivity.
Purpose of Study
The aim of this study is to examine and review the
importance of physical fitness for organizational
performance as well as productivity. There are 3
objectives that must be achieved. These include,
investigating the concept and criteria used to describe
physical fitness and company performance and
productivity based on theory and previous research and to
determine the factors that relate physical fitness to
company performance and productivity based on previous
research findings. Moreover, it will include investigating
researches from 1969 to 2015, which have been conducted
on organizational health performance and recommending
policies to promote a healthy work-place.
Research Methodology
The qualitative descriptive research approach is used
to perform a review of sixty researches on the importance
of physical fitness to company performance and
productivity. Data for this study is gathered from journals,
reports and articles from 1969 to 2015. Analysis is done
on the reviews of sixty researches and their respective
findings. The study uses descriptive research to ascertain
the importance of physical fitness to company
performance and productivity and to investigate the
factors related to this area based on previous research
findings. A qualitative descriptive design is the
appropriate choice for a qualitative study because the
participants could reveal a more detailed understanding of
their perspectives on the phenomenon of the importance
of physical fitness to company performance and
productivity. The qualitative descriptive approach is ideal
for this research as the identified important factors lay the
foundation on the experiences of the participants
(McGlone et al., 2008). When conducting a qualitative
descriptive study, researchers use descriptive validity
that describes the phenomenon directly (Sandelowski,
2010). With reference to the case study, the descriptive
design enables the researcher to describe the
characteristics of workplace recreation and its impact on
the wellbeing and performance of employees
(Orodho and Kombo, 2002). The importance of physical
fitness is evaluated and described by reviewing
researches and the ways in which they affect the
employees’ wellbeing and performance. The use of the
descriptive design also enables the researcher to give
succinct recommendations to researchers and scholars
interested in employee wellbeing at the workplace.
Qualitative data is being re-used in many modern day
studies. Thus, data from qualitative studies are archived
(Corti and Thompson, 1998; Hammersley and Gomm,
1997; Corti et al., 1995). In addition, the collection of
qualitative data is costly in many cases as well as time
consuming. The opportunities to conduct a primary
research are limited in many studies. In this modern
era, software and computer programs make the
collection, archiving and retrieval of data easy. Such
secondary data can be easily accessed and utilized
optimally for primary researches, which are the main
reasons for using secondary data in qualitative studies
(Procter, 1993). Secondary data analysis is a method
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suggested mainly for student researchers due to the
ease and cost effectiveness (Szabo and Strang, 1997).
Moreover, the current research is not experienced in
secondary research, mostly undertaken by experienced
researchers due to the specific difficulties in conducting
the secondary analysis (Thorne, 1994). It also has to be
noted that the adaptation of the method does not
necessarily preclude the chances of gathering primary
data (Fig. 1). This may for instance, be needed for
obtaining extra data or to pursue the findings arising
from the primary analysis in a much controlled manner.
There may also be a requirement for consulting the
primary researcher or researchers for investigating the
conditions of the original data collection and process.
In this study, data is collected from secondary sources
of information including human health and physical
activity journals, conference papers and databases such
as Emerald Insight, Science Direct and Sage
Publications. Available secondary data may be entirely
appropriate and adequate to draw conclusions, answer
questions, or solve problems and it is cheaper to collect
secondary data than it is to obtain primary data. With
no bud-get and a lack of time, examination of
secondary sources can yield a great deal more
information than a primary data collection exercise. In
other words, the time involved in searching secondary
sources is much less than that needed to complete a
primary data collection. Secondary sources of
information can yield more accurate data than that
obtained through primary research.
Analysis and Findings
In order to address the issues and to meet the aims of
this study, below are the researches that were developed:
What are the researches related to physical fitness
and performance and productivity of the
organization?
These researches on physical fitness and performance
and productivity have been carried out from 1969 to
2015. All the papers were retrieved from Google
scholar and web of science. Table 1 demonstrates the
authors, years and titles of these researches for further
understanding
What are the factors, which illustrate that physical
fitness, promotes higher company performance and
productivity?
As stated in the article “the impact of a health promotion
program on employee health risks and work productivity”,
productivity levels are increased by being part of a firm’s
fitness program (Mills et al., 2007). This survey
comprised a variable group of 266 and a control group of
1242 respondents. The participants of the variable group
were placed in a multi-part health promotion program that
expresses a personalized health improvement plan, health
risks, literature and lectures, which bring health
improvement in- to focus. Based on the findings of the
World Health Organization (WHO), the health risk of
individuals who have been enrolled in a multi-component
health promotion program decreased by 0.45, their work
performance increased by 0.79 and their monthly
absenteeism decreased by 0.36. These findings indicate
that applying a multi-component health promotion for the
purpose of increasing the fitness level of participants
could make distinct differences in productivity and health
risks. As such, a fitness program has a positive effect on
work performance and productivity.
Fig. 1. Schematic illustration of secondary data
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Table 1. Review of published papers since 1969 to 2015 base on authors, year and title of research
No Authors Years Titles
1. DeNelsky and McKee 1969 Perediction of job performance from assessment reports
2. Der-Karabetian and 1986 Effect of Physical Fitness Program in the Workplace
Gebharbp
3. Frew and Brunning 1988 The effect of employees’ participation in an exercise program on increasing job satisfaction and productivity
4. Ganster and Schaubroek 1991 Work stress and employee health
5. Shephard 1992 Benefits of worksite fitness programmes
6. Lupinacci et al. 1993 Age and physical activity effects on reaction time and digit symbol substitution performance in cognitively
active adults.
7. Kerr and Vos 1993 Employee fitness programmes, absenteeism and general wellbeing. In Work and Stress
8. Gomel et al. 1993 Worksite cardiovascular risk reduction: Randomised trial of health risk assessment, risk factor education,
behavioral counselling and incentive strategies
9. Biddle 1995 Exercise and psychosocial health
10. Calfas et al. 1996 Promotion of physical activity and healthy diet through individual counselling at the workplace
11. Falkenberg 1987 Employee fitness programs: Their impact on the employee and the organization
12. Sallis et al. 1997 Assessment of Physical Activity
13. Veitch et al 1999 Physical activity promotion for male factory workers
14. Shephard 1999 Do worksite exercise and health program
15. Midha and Sullivan 1999 Conflicting rationales for promoting health in the workplace.
16. Neck and Cooper 2000 The fit executive: Exercise and diet guidelines for enhancing performance.
17. Jacobson and Aldana 2001 Relationship between frequency of aerobic activity and illness-related absenteeism in a large employee sample
18. Trost et al. 2002 Correlates of adults’ participation in physical activity
19. Kahn et al. 2002 The effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity
20. Wattles and Harris 1997 The relationship between fitness levels and employee’s perceived productivity job satisfaction and absenteeism.
21. Pronk et al. 2004 The association between work performance and physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness and obesity.
22. Marshall 2004 The effectiveness of workplace physical activity interventions from 1997
23. Katzmarzyk and Janssen 2004 Estimated the direct and the indirect economic costs of physical inactivity and obesity Canad
24. Burton et al. 2005 The association of health status, worksite fitness center participation and two measures of productivity.
25. Van den Heuvel et al. 2005 Effect of sporting activity on absenteeism in a working population.
26. Ackland et al. 2005 Workplace Health and Physical Activity Program
27. Bates 2006 Recreational Program and Its Association with Job Satisfaction
28. Proper et al. 2003 Dose response relation between physical activity and sick leave
29. Engbers et al. 2005 workplace environmental intervention to promote physical activity and a healthy diet
30. Mills et al. 2007 The impact of a health promotion program on Employee Health Risks and Work Productivity
31. Hlobil et al. 2007 Effectiveness and economic impact of worksite interventions to promote physical activity and healthy diet
32. Grzywacz et al. 2007 The Effects of Workplace Flexibility on Health Behaviors: A Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Analysis
33. Lucove et al. 2007 Association between employee leisure-time physical activity and subsidized gym memberships
34. Donaghy 2007 Exercise can seriously improve your mental health: Fact or Fiction?
35. Beale et al 2012 Workplace physical activity interventions
36. Lovelace et al. 2007 Work stress and leadership development: The role of self-leadership, shared leadership, physical fitness and
flow in managing demands and increasing job control
37. Dugdill et al. 2008 Workplace physical activity interventions
38. Parks and Steelman 2008 Organisational Wellness Programmes
39. Cooper et al. 2008 Obesity reduction and its possible consequences
40. Kumar et al. 2009 Operational impact of employee wellness programs a business case study
41. Bingham 2009 Minding Our Bodies, Physical Activity for Mental Health
42. Conn et al. 2009 Meta-Analysis of Workplace Physical Activity Interventions
43. Burke et al. 2010 Group goal setting in a physical activity context
44. Erickson et al. 2011 Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory
45. Bennie et al. 2011 Associations between social ecological factors and self-reported short physical activity breaks during work
hours among desk-based employees
46. Greene 2011 Employee wellness proves its worth
47. Tamers et al. 2011 The association between worksite social support, diet, physical activity and body mass index
48. Crespo et al. 2011 Worksite Physical Activity Policies and Environments in Relation to Employee Physical activity
49. Barr-Anderson et al. 2011 Integration of Short Bouts of Physical Activity into Organizational
50. Mokaya andGitari 2012 Effects of Workplace Recreation on Employee Performance
51. Bernaards et al. 2007 Occupational and Environmental Medicine
52. Arvidson et al. 2013 The level of leisure time physical activity isassociated with work ability-a cross sectional andprospective
study of health care workers
53. Sliter and Yuan 2015 Workout at Work: Laboratory Test of Psychological andPerformance Outcomes of Active Workstations
54. Pasricha et al. 2014 Iron Supplementation Benefits PhysicalPerformance in Women of Reproductive Age: A Systematic Review
and Meta-Analysis
55. Thompson 2015 Worldwide surveyof fitness trendsfor
56. Lechner 2015 Sports, exercise and labor market outcomesIncreasing participation in sports and exercise can boost
productivity and earnings
57. Tomaskova et al. 2015 Health status and physical fitnessof mines rescue brigadesmen
58. Rehman et al. 2015 Impact of km practices on firms’performance: A mediating roleof business process capability
59. Pelletier et al. 2004 The relationship between health risks and work productivity
60. Ayabar et al. 2015 Regression Model to Estimate Standard Time throughEnergy Consumption of Workers in Manual Assembly
Linesunder Moderate Workload
61. Buckley et al. 2015 The sedentary o-ce: Anexpert statement on thegrowing case for changetowards better health andproductivity
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Pronk et al. (2004) examined the relationship
between performance at work and physical activity
together with two other elements recognized being
related to physical fitness activities including obesity and
cardio respiratory. Four variables including absenteeism,
quality and quantity of performance at work and final
performance were used to define work performance. The
result of the 683 data collected from workers showed
that physical activity had a positive effect on the quality
and the overall performance at work. Moreover, a higher
level of cardio respiratory fitness had a positive effect on
the quantity of work performance and reduced applied
effort to perform the work. Obesity was also found to be
related to higher absenteeism (Pronk et al., 2004). As
such, cardio respiratory fitness and physical activity are
related to presentism while obesity has a relationship
with absenteeism. The relation between fitness physical
activity and absenteeism was confirmed by a study by
Jacobson and Aldana (2001). The aim of their study was
to compare the frequency of self-reported exercise with
illness-related absenteeism. The results revealed a
significant relation between weekly exercise days and
annual absenteeism with lower exercise rates being
associated with higher rates of annual absenteeism. The
association was specifically significant between no
exercise at all (0 days per week) and 1 day per week of
exercise compared to a higher exercise frequency rate
(Jacobson and Aldana, 2001). Moreover, it appeared that
non-exercisers were more likely to be absent for more
than 7 days when compared to those exercising at least
once per week. In a research conducted in Netherlands,
data regarding absenteeism due to sickness over four
years was gathered from 1228 employees of 21 Dutch
firms. They also utilized data from two large Dutch
cross-sectional data bases. The study investigated the
relationship between sick leave and physical activity
(Proper et al., 2003) find out whether physical activity
affected sickness absenteeism. The results of their study
showed that moderate intensity physical activities are
neither related to duration of sick leave nor its frequency
(Proper et al., 2003).
According to Shephard (1999), fitness promotes
job performance. Commercial real estate stock
brokers who participated in an aerobics training
program (walking and/or running three times a week,
for 12 weeks) earned greater sales commissions
during and after the training program than brokers
who did not participate. Workers from a hospital
equipment firm who participated in a similar aerobics
training program (walking, running, swimming and
bicycling four times a week, for 24 weeks), enjoyed
greater productivity and job satisfaction than workers
who did not participate in the fitness program. The
result showed that participating in fitness programs
creates greater sales and productivity and it causes job
satisfaction among the workers. Among the variety of
studies conducted by Bennie et a l. (2011), a large
cross-sectional study (n = 801) identified work
environment as a key setting to promote breaks in
sitting and found that employees meeting the daily
physical activity recommendations reported taking
more short breaks than those who did not meet the
recommendations. The finding showed that employees
who have daily physical activity, take less short
breaks in comparison with those who did not do any
physical activity. As a result, physical activity
promotes breaks in sitting. In another study conducted
by Grzywacz et al. (2007), cross-sectional and
longitudinal health risk appraisal data were obtained
from employees of a multinational company (n =
3193) and it was found that physical activity
frequency was positively related to perceived
flexibility of work hours in the cross-sectional
analysis. The result showed that physical activity and
work flexibility may contribute to positive lifestyle
behaviors and may play an important role in effective
workplace health promotion initiatives.
What are the studies from 1969 to 2015 on physical
activity and company performance and productivity?
Table 2 shows how many studies have been carried
out on physical activity and company performance and
productivity from 1969 to 2015 and denotes the purpose,
findings and criteria fin these studies for understanding
and comparing the findings.
Policy Recommendation
The policy recommendations that can be applied
from this study are based on the analysis of Table 2.
The policy recommendations for this research are
shown in Table 3.
Table 2. The studies of purposes, findings and criteria for published papers since 1969 to 2015.
No. Author Year Title Purpose Findings Cariteria
1. Mills et al. 2007 The impact of a health promotion The significance of physical findings indicate that applying a multi significance of
program on Employee Health fitness towards productivity -component health promotion for the physical fitness
Risks and Work Productivity and performance of the firm purpose of increasing the fitness productivity
level of participators would make performance
distinct differences in productivity
and health risks. As such, fitness
program has positive effect on work
performance and productivity.
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2. Burton et al. 2005 The association of health status, Comparing individuals who Those employees who enrolled in comparison between
worksite fitness center officially registered and who the fitness center of the company employees who
participation and two measures did not registered in a fitness had higher productivity compared to registered/do not
of productivity. center of the firm on the those who did not participate in the register in a fitness
productivity in the workplace fitness program of the company center of the firm
productivity
3. Frew and 1988 The effect of employees’ The effect of aerobic The research on study showed that Aerobic program
Brunnin participation in an exercise program for the sales of aerobic program has positive effect performance
program on increasing job brokers who took part in or and increase sales in between brokers (increase sales)
satisfaction and productivity throughout of this program who took part in this program.
4. DeNelsky and 1969 Use of a modified Q-sort Attempted to predict The Sample of 32 government Participate in fitness
McKee technique to expand predictor individual’s job performance employees showed that 71% of performance
and criterion variance. on the basis of an evaluation employees have had high level in (high level in job
which involved fitness their job performance and 60% were performance)
below standard level because of
participate in fitness.
5. Van den 2005 Effect of sporting activity on The impact of physical Physical activities based on result Physical activity
Heuvel et al. absenteeism in a working activities on absenteeism for have a positive influence on performance
population. the period of four years on absenteeism as individuals who (absenteeism)
1228 workers of 21 Dutch participated in sports had fewer sick
firms leaves of the work.
6. Pronk et al. 2004 The association between work The relationship among The result of 683 data collected from physical activity
performance and physical performance at work and workers showed that physical activity performance
activity,cardiorespiratory fitness physical activity and had positive effect on the quality of (positive effect on
and obesity. recognized to be related performance at work and higher level quality and quantity
with physical fitnes activities of cardio respiratory fitness had of work)
including obesity and cardio positive effect on quantity of work
respiratory. performance.
7. Jacobson and 2001 Relationship between frequency Compare the frequency of The results revealed a significant Significant relation
Aldana of aerobic activity and illness self-reported exercise with relation between weekly exercise between weekly
related absenteeism in a large illness-related absenteeism days and annual absenteeism with exercise
employee sample lower exercise rates being associated performance
with higher rates of annual (absenteeism)
absenteeism duration.
8. Proper et al. 2003 Dose response relation between Investigated the relationship The findings of their study showed Physical activity
physical activity and sick leave between sick leave and that moderate intensity physical performance
physical activity activities is neither related to duration (sick leave)
of sick leave nor the frequency of it
9. Hlobil et al 2007 Effectiveness and economic Physical exercises, used The most significant results of the physical exercises
impact of worksite interventions based on operant cost effectiveness analysis were the productivity
to promote physical activity and conditioning behavioral health care uses’ costs throughout the
healthy diet principles. first follow-up year and the cost of
productivity loss throughout the second
together with the third follow-up year.
10. Neck and 2000 The fit executive: Exercise and There is a relationship The result of this study was fitness Fitness
Cooper diet guidelines for enhancing between work productivity has positive effect on higher productivity
performance. and individual’s fitness. productivity.
11. Lupinacci et al. 1993 Age and physical activity effects The relationship between The findings showed that physical Physical activity
on reaction time and digit symbol fitness and mental activity has significant influence on performance
substitution performance in performance, especially for mental performance. Information
cognitively active adults. individuals within the age processing in active people is faster
ranges of many executives. than inactive people.
12. Shephard 1999 Do worksite exercise and health Fitness promotes job The result showed that fitness Fitness program
program? performance. program make greater sales and performance
productivity and it makes job productivity
satisfaction in workers.^
13. Bennie et al. 2011 Associations between social Physical activity promote The finding showed that employees Physical activity
ecological factors and short breaks sitting who have daily physical activity, they performance
physical activity breaks during take less short breaks in comparison (promote breaks
work hours among desk-based with those who did not do. sitting)
employees
14. Grzywacz et al. 2007 The effects of workplace Investigate physical activity The result showed that, physical physical activity
flexibility on health behaviors: frequency was positively activity andwork flexibility may play performance
A cross-Sectional and related to perceived an important role in effective
longitudinal analysis flexibility of work hours workplace health promotion initiatives.
15. Beale et al. 2012 Workplace physical activity The economic impact of Research reporting the physical Physical activity
interventions workplace interventions activity has economic benefit in productivity
which aim to increase workplace.
employees' physical activity
levels.
16. Shephard 1992 Benefits of worksite fitness Look critically at appropriate programme afitness and lifestyle Fitness programme
programmes techniques for the economic programme showed that an increase productivity
analysis of worksite fitness in productivity in the experimental performance
and lifestyle programmes company and reduce absenteeism.
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17. Wattles and 1997 The relationship between fitness The purpose of this study Studies showed that fitness has a Fitness
Harris levels and employee’s perceived was to examine the direct effect on the work performance
productivity job satisfaction and relationship between various performance. productivity
absenteeism. components of health-related
fitness and employees
perceived productivity, job
satisfaction and absenteeism.
18. Pelletier et al. 2004 The relationship between health Examined the relationship calculated that health program reduce Performance
risk and work productivity between changes in various absenteeism, improve presenteeism productivity
health risks and changes in and increase productivity.
work productivity
19. Katzmarzyk and 2004 Estimated the direct and the Investigate indirect costs The result showed that the physical Performance
Janssen indirect economic costs of included the value of inactivity has negative effect on productivity
physical inactivity and obesity economic output lost economic (spend money for obesity)
in Canada because of illness, injury-
related work disability, or
premature death
20. Dugdill et al. 2008 Workplace physical activity The effectiveness of Positive effect of physical activity Physical activity
interventions workplace physical activity on workplace company
interventions
21. Calfas et al. 1996 Promotion of physical activity Intensity physical activity The result showed that physical Physical activity
and healthy diet through through advice from primary activity has positive effect on performance
individual counselling at the care physicians. Employee performance
workplace
22. Engbers et al. 2005 workplace environmental Evaluate the effect of such Studies showed that changing Physical activity
intervention to promote physical an intervention, physical environment at short time and more
activity and a healthy diet activity and health diet in physical activity has positive effect
workplace on work place and employee
23. Der- 1986 Ef fect of Physical Fitness Investigate job satisfaction, Suggested that every company should Physical fitness
Karabetian et al. Program in the Workplace body image and sick days focus on employee fitness since it performance
for those who exercised and reduces absenteeism and increase the
those who did not. employees productivity.
24. Barr- 2011 Integration of Short bouts of Evaluate work performance Increase in work performance after Physical activity
Anderson et al. physical activity related to physical activity increased physical activity performance
25. Crespo et al. 2011 Worksite physical activity An association between Suggested that, in general, higher Physical fitness
policies and environments in being physically active levels of physical fitness can reduce
relation to employee physical and improvements in the likelihood
activity psychological/cognitive
factors
26. Trost et al. 2002 Correlates of adults’ participation Investigate Perceived self- Studies show that physical activity in Physical activity
in physical activity efficacy (one’s belief in the workplace increased employee performance
their ability to succeed) and self-esteem, goal setting and self-
consistent associations with efficacy
physical activity behavior
27. Conn et al. 2009 Meta-analysis of workplace Evaluate workplace physical The result showed that stress was Physical activity
physical activity interventions activity opportunities and job significantly lower and and job performance
satisfaction satisfaction increase after physical
activity
28. Ackland et al. 2005 Workplace health and physical Investigate workplace health The study showed that physical Physical activity
activity program and physical activity activity increased job satisfaction, performance
programs improved the work greater commitment of employees
environment and reduced job stress
29. Donaghy 2007 Exercise can seriously improve Evaluate the effect of Concluded that exercise not only Physical activity
your mental health: Fact or exercise to protects against protects against depression performance
Fiction? depression
30. Searle et al. 2011 Patients’ views of physical Investigate physical activity The result showed that physical Physical activity
activity as treatment for for treatment depression activity to be an acceptable
depression treatment for depression
31. Bingham 2009 Minding Our Bodies, Physical A direct relation between Aerobic exercise leads to a small Physical activity
Activity for Mental Health physical activity and to moderate decrease in tension,
psychological well-being depression, fatigue and confusion
32. Tamers et al. 2011 The association between Evaluate association between The studies showed that physical Physical activity
worksite social support, diet, physical activity and activity has positive effect on performance
physical activity and body mas employee psychosocial employee health
index health
33. Kahn et al. 2002 The effectiveness of interventions Investigate staff participation Increased physical activity levels Physical activity
to increase physical activity in workplace health can increase individual employee performance
(physical activity) self-confidence (higher self
confidence)
34. Lucove et al. 2007 association between employee Association between Positive effect on employee physical Physical activity
leisure-time physical activity and employee leisure-time activity and reduce barriers to physical
subsidized gym memberships physical activity and activity such as cost.
subsidized gym memberships
Maryam Etemadi et al. / A merican Journa l of Applied Scie nces 2016, 13 (11): 1104.1118
DOI: 10.3844/ajassp.2016.1104.1118
1111
35. Bernaards et al. 2007 Occupational and Environmental Evaluate physical activity, The study showed that the amount of Physical activity
Medicine fitness and affect work physical activity and fitness did not (negative)
productivity and absence have an effect on work performance performance
36. Erickson et al. 2011 Exercise training increases size Physical fitness and can The study showed that physical Physical fitness
of hippocampus and improves reduce the likelihood of fitness has positive effect on performance
memory developing cognitive employee
impairments in employee
37. Conn et al. 2009 Meta-analysis of workplace Investigate workplace health The study showed that Significant physical activity
physical activity Interventions. promotion programs with positive effects for physical activity and fitness
health and physical activity behaviour, fitness,work attendance performance
and job stress.
38. Falkenberg 1987 Employee fitness programs Evaluate the premise that Study showed that physical fitness Physical fitness
employee fitness programmes had a significant positive productivity
programmes were attractive impact on employee productivity and
to employees performance.
39. Kerr and Vos 1993 Employee fitness programmes, Investigate the The results of their study showed Physical fitness
absenteeism and general implementation of fitness that physical fitnesss reduced performance
wellbeing. In work and stress programmes to improve absenteeism rates and improved the
employee well-being and general well-being of employees
reduce absenteeism.
40. Bates 2006 Companies make great gains with Evaluate the positive effect The study showed that physical Physical program
employee wellness programme of social and physical programmes reduced health care costs performance
recreation programmes on for employers by reducing sick leave,
employee health health costs
41. Mokaya and 2012 Effects of workplace recreation Investigate physical fitness The result showed that the positive Physical fitness
Gitari on employee performance programs had an effect on effect of physical fitness programmes performance
theperformance and health on the performance, work quality,
of employee morale and efficiency of employees
in the workplace.
42. Parks and 2008 Organisational Wellness Evaluate participation in The result showed that participation Fitness program
Steelman Programmes employee fitness programs in employee fitness programs performance
in job satisfaction Increased job satisfaction.
43. Midha and 1999 Conflicting rationales for Investigate Physical Activity The study showed that physical Physical activity
Sullivan promoting health in the in the Workplace activity on workplace has positive
workplace. effect
44. Gomel et al. 1993 Randomised trial of health risk Workplace physical activity Physical activity in workplace can Physical activity
assessment, risk factor education, promotion increase participation performance
behavioral counselling and
incentive strategies.
45. Veitch et al. 1999 Physical activity promotion for Investigations possibility of The result showed that Physical Physical activity
male factory workers increasing physical activity activity increase opportunities for performance
opportunities for less-skilled less-skilled working
working male
46. Sallis et al. 1997 Assessment of Physical Activity Evaluate policy and The study showed that increasing Physical activity
environmental interventions physical activity has positive impact
show for increasing physical on employee
activity levels have an
impact on all employees
47. Janet et al. 2002 The state of evidence for Investigate measures for The resulte showed that increasing Physical activity
measures for increasing the increasing the employees physical activity has effectiveness
employees physical activity ‘physical activity outcomes such asmuscle flexibility,
body weight as well as general
health on employees
48. Marshall 2004 The effectiveness of workplace Investigate the effectiveness The result showed that physical Physical activity
physical activity interventions of workplace physical activity has positive effect productivity
from 1997 activity interventions onoutcomes.
49. Ganster and 1991 Work stress and employee health Evaluate reduced employee The study showed that participate Fitness program
Schaubroek stress and less absenteeism in fitness program can reduce stress performance
by those who participate and absenteeism
frequently in a corporate
fitness program
50. Burke et al. 2010 Group goal setting in a physical Evaluate relationship The positive relationship between Physical activity
activity context between physical activity physical activity and outcomes productivity
and outcomes
51. Biddle 1995 Exercise and psychosocial health Evaluate exercise effects on The result showed that exercise has Physical exercise
s measures of anxiety, positive effect on functioning and performance
depression,mood and “prosocial” behaviours, such as
self-esteem. networking.
52. Greene 2011 Employee wellness proves Investigate relationship The result showed that physical Physical activity
its worth between organization and activity prevent of absenteeism performance
employee health and increase turnover
53. Kumar et al. 2009 Operational impact of employee Evaluate organizational Physical activity and wellness Physical activity
wellness programs a business wellness programs program increase productivity productivity
case study
Maryam Etemadi et al. / A merican Journa l of Applied Scie nces 2016, 13 (11): 1104.1118
DOI: 10.3844/ajassp.2016.1104.1118
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54. Lovelace et al. 2007 Work stress and leadership Investigate physical Fitness supports healthful regeneration Fitness
development fitness in job and increased engagement and is performance
vital to a leader’s ability to manage
work stress
55. Arvidson et al. 2013 The level of leisure time physical Peruse physical activity, Physical activity increas work ability Physical activity
activity is associated with work work ability and health and health between employee performance
ability-a cross sectional and care workers
prospective study of health care
workers
56. Sliter and Yuan 2015 Workout at Work: Laboratory Study physical activity The result showed that activity Physical activity
Test of Psychological and and psychologic and in workplace has positive effect performance
Performance Outcomes of performance outcomes on functioning and behaviours.
Active Workstations
57. Avner et al. 2014 Treadmill Workstations: The Inspect physical activity The positive relationship between Physical activity
Effects of Walking while and work performance physical activity and work Work performance
Working on Physical Activity performance
and Work Performance
58. Thompson 2015 Woldwid survey of fitness Study fitness The result showed that fitness has Fitness
trends for 2015 positive effect on functioning
59. Lechner 2015 Sports, exercise, labor market, Peruse exercise and effects The study showed that increasing Physical activity
Outcomes Increasing participation on outcomes and physical activity has positive impact Outcomes
in sports and exercise can boost productivity on outcomes and productivity productivity
productivity and earnings
60. Ayabar etal. 2015 Regression Model to Estimate Evaluate model toEstimate The result showed that physical
Standard Time throughEnergy energyof workers activity has positive effect in worker Physical activity
Consumption of Workers in work performance
Manual Assembly Linesunder
Moderate Workload
61. Buckley et al. 2015 The sedentary o ce: Anexpert Invistigate fitness activity The result showed that fitnesshas Fitnessand
statement on thegrowing case to improving health and positive effect on health productivity
for changetowards better productivity
health and productivity
Table 3. The policy recommendations from researchers and authors study
Author/researcheres Yeares Recommendation for the importance of physical fitness to company performance and productivity
Ackland et al. 2005 Organizations should document a corporate policy that relates specifically to employee health and
physical activity and that the support of management will be essential to the success of such a policy.
Pronk and Kottke 2009 policies that encourage or reward active commuting to work or the introduction of complete streets
policies that ensure streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for all pedestrians, bicyclists,
motorists and transit riders.
Phipps et al. 2010 Organizations interested in implementing workplace policies to increase opportunities for physical
activity can benefit from understanding what personal, environmental and organizational factors may
impact employee interest and willingness to participate in physical activity
Lucove et al. 2007 Introducing a workplace policy to provide employees with subsidized fitness counseling or
gym/recreation memberships may be an effective way to increase and support employee physical
activity and reduce barriers to physical activity such as cost.
Crespo et al. 2011 The more environmental and policy factors present in a workplace, the more total and recreational
physical activity was reported by employees both at work and outside of work.
Results and Discussion
As mentioned above, this study focused on three
objectives. Two objectives are discussed and concluded
as follows:
To illustrate the effects of physical fitness on company
performance and productivity. The importance of physical
fitness, physical fitness at work, company’s performance
and productivity was discussed in the literature review.
According to the findings, five factors demonstrate the
effect of physical fitness on company performance and
productivity. The factors include job satisfaction and
commitment; cognition and memory; self-confidence/self-
efficacy; decreased weight/increased physical activity level;
and psychosocial well-being and stress. Table 4 shows the
results of the findings from the literature review.
There are five factors show the effect of physical
fitness on company performance and productivity as
discussed in objective one.
Job Satisfaction/Commitment
All of the reviews which have been done
systematically demonstrate that the initiatives of health
promotion in the workplace attempt to improve fitness and
physical activity which might result in more employee
commitment and finally improve job satisfaction
(Barr-Anderson et al., 2011). Based on the achieved
outcomes, implementing both activities of physical
fitness and health programs will improve work context in
many different ways such as increasing job satisfaction,
more employee commitment and less job stress of
employees (Ackland et al., 2005).
Maryam Etemadi et al. / A merican Journa l of Applied Scie nces 2016, 13 (11): 1104.1118
DOI: 10.3844/ajassp.2016.1104.1118
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Table 4. Results of physical activity for performance and productivity that find from literature review
Performance Productivity
-------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------
Physical activity Positive Negative Higher Lower
Yes 57 35 13
No 3 2 1
Cognition and Memory
One of the current cross-sectional researches
demonstrates that there is a relationship between
being active physically and improvement in both
cognitive and psychological factors. Literature review
revealed that generally, more physical activity and
physical fitness will decrease the chances of cognitive
impairments from occurring (Erickson and Kramer,
2009). In addition, short bouts of physical activity
practices during work increased accuracy and the
speed of data entry (Barr-Anderson e t al. 2011). Some
studies revealed that even physical activities in
moderate levels can minimize cognitive declines and
could be used as a method of treatment for reversing
the already existing cognitive deficits in older adults
as well (Hertzog et al., 2009).
Self-Confidence/Self-Efficacy
The systematic literature review demonstrated that
initiatives of physical activities at the workplace c
might increase self-confidence among employees
(Anderson et al., 2009). Besides, other systematic
studies showed that participation of employees in
health initiatives at the workplace could establish
social capital by developing a higher cohesion sense
as well as a collective self-efficacy of staffs (Kahn et al.,
2002). The concept of social capital includes the
processes among people that build norms, networks
and trust and facilitates cooperation with mutual
benefits (WHO, 1998). Therefore, more physical
activity and higher fitness levels can enhance the self-
confidence of employees that can finally result in a
unified work culture.
Decreased Weight/Increased Physical Activity Level
Based on previously conducted studies, initiatives
of health promotion at the workplace attempt to
increase nutrition and physical activity, also, it was
revealed that fitness could decrease body weight and
body fat of employees effectively (van Dongen et al.,
2011). In addition, Anderson et al. (2009) showed that
because of health promotion programs at the workplace,
some modest weight loss has been reported as well with
the objective of improving physical activity and
nutrition. The other review identified that overall,
physical activity could be increased by workplace
intervention among all the participants in all the relevant
investigations. In such studies, physical activity was
evaluated and it was found that there are modest
improvements in the level of physical fitness activity
(Barr-Anderson et al., 2011).
Psychosocial Well-Being and Stress
Literature review demonstrated that 27% of
individuals who have depression have serious issues
in both the home and work life and within 3 months,
they will lose an average of 4.8 working days and
suffer 11.5 reduced productivity days (CDC, 2011).
Some studies revealed that physical activity is related
to a minimized risk of developing clinical depression
(Bingham, 2009). Such conclusions are supported by a
review in 2007, which revealed that exercise protects
people against depression and it is an adjunctive and
effective intervention to treat depression from mild to
moderate levels (Donaghy, 2007).
To investigate the importance of physical fitness to
company performance and productivity Based on
previous studies, the necessity of physical fitness to
productivity and company performance can be
investigated based on increased job performance and
productivity, return on investment/cost effectiveness,
decrease in presentism/absenteeism, sick leave,
turnover, compensation of workers and disability.
Productivity and Job Performance
It was concluded that work performance could
increase as a result of increased fitness and physical
activity after short bouts of physical activity were
introduced within the work context. In addition it was
revealed that work ability could be improved if we
consider some exercise breaks and as a result
significant improvements could be observed in both
work productivity and cognitive performance. It can
be achieved if we introduce physical activity as a
daily routine at the workplace (Barr-Anderson et al.,
2011). Hutchinson and Wilson (2011) conducted a
meta-analysis and they concluded that the workplace
could be a suitable setting to initiate modest
modifications in fitness and physical activity of
employees. Thus, improved health conditions and
successful interventions of physical activity might
result in improved productivity.
Maryam Etemadi et al. / A merican Journa l of Applied Scie nces 2016, 13 (11): 1104.1118
DOI: 10.3844/ajassp.2016.1104.1118
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Turnover, Disability, Worker’s Compensation and
Sick Leave
Other advantages of improved physical fitness
activities of employees are decreased obesity, less
compensation cost of workers, sick leave, associated
costs and short run disability rates (Ackland et al.,
2005). One of the recent studies revealed that
initiatives of health promotion at the workplace to
improve physical activity might result in more
financial advantages for organizations by means of
turnover reduction (van Dongen et al., 2011).
Moreover, Christie et al. (2010) explained that obesity
could predict sick leave in the long term so less
obesity by means of more physical activity can
minimize sick leave. Pronk and Kottke (2009) stated
that vigorous physical activity positively impacts sick
leave. Besides Hutchinson and Wilson (2011)
mentioned that improved health of employees leads to
successful interventions of physical activity and it can
finally results in decreased sick leave rates.
Cost Effectiveness/Return on Investment
When we consider costs of sick leave, absenteeism,
injuries, disability and health care, it is obvious that
physical inactivity as well as it influence on obesity of
employees can be a critical driver of costs in the work
context (Anderson et al., 2009). One of the mixed-
method researches demonstrated that implementing
physical activity, workplace health and fitness
initiatives has many economic benefits for the
organization such as cost improvements to benefit ratio
(Ackland et al., 2005). Another research demonstrated
that there is $1.59 USD for each single invested dollar
in physical activity programs in workplace and cost
effectiveness in three separate studies varied from
$1.44 to $4.16 USD, for each pound of body weight
loss (Anderson et al., 2009).
Absenteeism and Presentism
Presentism concept refers to being present at work
regardless of weak health level and thus performing
below par (Brown et al., 2011). It is considered a new
concept, which tries to quantify how current health
conditions of employees can limit their work performance
and it has a negative impact on organizational productivity
as well (Ackland et al., 2005). One of the current
investigations demonstrated that losses for presentism in
workplace were from 1.9 to 5.1 times higher than the
incurred costs from absenteeism and the fact that related
costs to presentism were more than those direct costs of
health in many cases because of the decline in
productivity (Brown et al., 2011). In addition, positive
associations in literature revealed that initiatives of
physical activity in workplace could be a valid tool to
help minimize both presentism and absenteeism.
Some Intangible Advantages
Comprehensive study of previous investigations
demonstrated that implementing physical activity
initiatives and workplace health programs could lead
to improved outcomes of human resource and in
developing a positive corporate image. Such results
can empower total performance in the workplace such
as improved motivation, more loyalty and enhanced
employee morale, better recruitment, good working
atmosphere, improved teamwork and communication
and finally retention of qualified employees. In
general, relevant studies explain that staffs can benefit
in different ways by creating opportunities for
activities of physical fitness at the workplace
(Ackland et al., 2005).
Conclusion
Achieved outcomes from the reviews revealed that
physical activity levels could be positively impacted by
fitness and productivity programs at the workplace.
Moreover, this research review showed that, there is a
direct relationship between work productivity and
fitness. Some researchers measured improved job
satisfaction and productivity through enrollment in
exercise program by employees. Brokers of
commercial real estate stock who participated in an
aerobics program for a total of 12 weeks achieved
higher sales levels compared to the non-participating
brokers after or during the 12 weeks of aerobic
programs. Moreover, Research showed that,
employees who participated in physical activity
programs have more self-confidence and
concentration in their job in comparison to other
employees. Workers are under pressure in the
workplace and physical activity can reduce stress and
depression among them. According to researches,
physical activity in the workplace increases
employees’ health and efficiency and reduces the cost
of treating employees. Introducing a workplace policy
to provide employees with subsidized fitness
counseling or gym/recreation memberships may be an
effective way to increase and support employee
physical activity and to reduce barriers to physical
activity such as cost.
Acknowledgment
The authors would like to thank the Ministry of
Education Malaysia for funding this research project
through a Research University Grant of Universiti
Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). We also thank the
Research Management Centre of UTM for providing
an excellent research environment in which to
complete this work.
Maryam Etemadi et al. / A merican Journa l of Applied Scie nces 2016, 13 (11): 1104.1118
DOI: 10.3844/ajassp.2016.1104.1118
1115
Author’s Contributions
Maryam Etemadi: Led the study, collected the
data and did all the analysis. He also produced the
manuscript in its original form and revised it into its
final form.
Kamyar Shameli and Norihan Abu Hassan:
Participated in research design.
Nurul Bahiyah Binti Ahmad Khairudin and
Hirofumi Hara: Reviewed the draft manuscript and
provided suggestions to improve it.
Kamyar Shameli and Zuriati Zakaria: Reviewed
the draft manuscript. In charge of publication
correspondence.
Ethics
This article is original and contains unpublished
materials. The corresponding author confirms that all
of the other authors have read and approved the
manuscript and no ethical issues involved.
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... Therefore, offering PA interventions on-site can help to overcome one of the major self-reported reasons for not exercising which is "lack of time" (European Union, 2017, p. 58). Investing in employees' physical fitness can also provide a variety of benefits for employers, such as reduced absenteeism, employee health care costs, and employee turnover (Etemadi et al., 2016). The increasing emphasis on the workplace as a key setting for health promotion is also represented in the growing number of publications that investigate the effectiveness of PA-promoting programs at work. ...
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Background: This study investigates whether a worksite physical activity (PA) promotion program consisting of both a "practical" PA component and a "theoretical" (psychological) coaching component (PA+C) is more effective than the same "practical" PA component alone. Methods: N = 213 employees were assigned to two groups by cluster-randomisation: one group received the "MoVo-work" program including a PA component and a coaching component (PA+C group). The other group received only the PA component (PA group). Assessment of PA and health was conducted at five time points. Results: Six weeks after program completion the percentage of physically active participants was significantly higher in the PA+C group compared to the PA group (68% vs. 45%; p = .01). At 12-month follow-up, the PA+C group showed a higher percentage of physically active participants and a better health status than the PA group on the descriptive level, but these differences did not reach statistical significance. Conclusions: Results suggest that a PA promotion program including a psychological coaching component is more effective in evoking behavior change than a practical PA program alone. However, booster interventions are required to maintain the additional effects.
... Notably, Hopkinson and Wardman (1996), Wardman et al. (2007), Ramjerdi et al. (2010) and B€ orjesson and Eliasson (2012) have focused on estimating the value of travel time reductions and improvements in perceived safety for different types of roadway improvements, finding that cyclists have higher value of times than other mode users due to the physical effort involved. Studies in the health and epidemiology domain have found positive effects of walking and cycling in reducing all-cause mortality (Kelly et al., 2014), lowering absenteeism (de Hartog et al., 2010), improving fitness and productivity levels (Etemadi et al., 2016;Walker et al., 2017;Wattles et al., 2003), and reducing the cost of several illnesses (Kahlmeier et al., 2017). ...
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