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Active and Sitting Time at Work—Evidence for Optimizing Worker Health

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Exercise and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (5 June 2023) | Viewed by 13748

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
Interests: measurement; sedentary behaviour; physical activity; public health; occupational health

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
Interests: sedentary lifestyle; sitting position; office workers; occupational health; return to work

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The way we work is constantly evolving. Increases in the automation of work tasks and computer-based working have largely decreased activity and increased sitting time at work. The recent rise of home-based and hybrid working models with the changes wrought by the pandemic have also altered activity patterns while working. Not all workplaces are trending to lower activity. Many still require heavy labour, repetitive activities and prolonged postures. The health effects of work-related sitting time and physical activity in all its forms, and the enhancements that can be made by changing these, require elucidation to inform workers on what is best for their health and to make recommendations to organisational policy makers. To advance this field we need to be able to measure posture (sitting/standing) and activity at work including the contexts in which they occur, understand which of these contexts and behaviours are important for health, and use this information to intervene to optimize worker health. Finally, changes that have been shown to enhance health should be disseminated to wider occupational settings and then evaluated for success. Papers addressing work sitting and activity measurement, health associations of time spent active and sitting for work, as well as interventions targeting activity and sitting for work health benefit and subsequent dissemination research are invited for this Special Issue, especially those identifying a real-world purpose for the research.

Dr. Bronwyn K. Clark
Dr. Charlotte Brakenridge
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • work
  • occupational health
  • sitting
  • sedentary
  • physical activity
  • evidence-based
  • intervention
  • dissemination

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Editorial

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5 pages, 297 KiB  
Editorial
The Importance of Research on Occupational Sedentary Behaviour and Activity Right Now
by Bronwyn K. Clark, Charlotte L. Brakenridge and Genevieve N. Healy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(23), 15816; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192315816 - 28 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1442
Abstract
The workplace has been identified as a key setting for public health interventions to ‘promote and maintain the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupations’ by the World Health Organisation [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

17 pages, 1277 KiB  
Article
The Effect of an Electronic Passive Prompt Intervention on Prolonged Occupational Sitting and Light-Intensity Physical Activity in Desk-Based Adults Working from Home during COVID-19 in Ireland
by Aidan J. Buffey, Gráinne Hayes, Brian P. Carson and Alan E. Donnelly
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(13), 6294; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20136294 - 4 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1742
Abstract
This study aimed to assess the effect of passive prompts on occupational physical behaviours (PBs) and bouts of prolonged sitting among desk-based workers in Ireland who were working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Electronic passive prompts were delivered every 45 min, asking [...] Read more.
This study aimed to assess the effect of passive prompts on occupational physical behaviours (PBs) and bouts of prolonged sitting among desk-based workers in Ireland who were working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Electronic passive prompts were delivered every 45 min, asking participants to walk for five minutes, during working hours. Twenty-eight participants (aged 30–67 years) completed the six-week intervention between October 2020 and April 2021. PBs were measured using an activPAL3TM accelerometer, following a 24 h wear protocol, worn for the duration of the study. Participants were highly sedentary at both baseline (77.71% of work hours) and during the intervention (75.81% of work hours). However, the number of prolonged occupational sedentary bouts > 90 min was reduced compared to baseline (0.56 ± 0.08 vs. 0.77 ± 0.11, p = 0.009). Similar reductions were observed in the time spent in sustained sitting > 60 and >90 min when compared to baseline sedentary patterns (60 min: −31.27 ± 11.91 min, p = 0.014; 90 min: −27.97 ± 9.39 min, p = 0.006). Light-intensity physical activity (LIPA) significantly increased during the intervention (+14.29%, p = 0.001). This study demonstrates that passive prompts, delivered remotely, can both reduce the number and overall time spent in prolonged bouts of occupational sedentary behaviour and increase occupational LIPA. Full article
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23 pages, 1647 KiB  
Article
Participation in the Global Corporate Challenge®, a Four-Month Workplace Pedometer Program, Reduces Psychological Distress
by Jessica Stone, S. Fiona Barker, Danijela Gasevic and Rosanne Freak-Poli
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(5), 4514; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20054514 - 3 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1786
Abstract
Background: Psychological distress (stress) has been linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases and is exacerbated by a range of workplace factors. Physical activity has been shown to alleviate psychological distress. Previous pedometer-based intervention evaluations have tended to focus on physical health [...] Read more.
Background: Psychological distress (stress) has been linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases and is exacerbated by a range of workplace factors. Physical activity has been shown to alleviate psychological distress. Previous pedometer-based intervention evaluations have tended to focus on physical health outcomes. This study aimed to investigate the immediate and long-term changes in psychological distress in employees based in Melbourne, Australia after their participation in a four-month pedometer-based program in sedentary workplaces. Methods: At baseline, 716 adults (aged 40 ± 10 years, 40% male) employed in primarily sedentary occupations, voluntarily enrolled in the Global Corporate Challenge© (GCC©), recruited from 10 Australian workplaces to participate in the GCC® Evaluation Study, completed the Kessler 10 Psychological Distress Scale (K10). Of these, 422 completed the K10 at baseline, 4 months and 12 months. Results: Psychological distress reduced after participation in a four-month workplace pedometer-based program, which was sustained eight months after the program ended. Participants achieving the program goal of 10,000 steps per day or with higher baseline psychological distress had the greatest immediate and sustained reductions in psychological distress. Demographic predictors of immediate reduced psychological distress (n = 489) was having an associate professional occupation, younger age, and being ‘widowed, separated or divorced’. Conclusions: Participation in a workplace pedometer-based program is associated with a sustained reduction in psychological distress. Low-impact physical health programs conducted in groups or teams that integrate a social component may be an avenue to improve both physical and psychological health in the workplace. Full article
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12 pages, 957 KiB  
Article
Multi-Component Intervention to Promote Physical Activity in Japanese Office Workers: A Single-Arm Feasibility Study
by Jihoon Kim, Ryoko Mizushima, Kotaro Nishida, Masahiro Morimoto and Yoshio Nakata
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(24), 16859; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192416859 - 15 Dec 2022
Viewed by 3099
Abstract
This study investigated the feasibility of a multi-component intervention to promote physical activity (PA) among Japanese office workers. It was an 8-week single-arm trial conducted in Japan in 2021, in which 76 employees aged 20 or older, from an insurance company, participated. They [...] Read more.
This study investigated the feasibility of a multi-component intervention to promote physical activity (PA) among Japanese office workers. It was an 8-week single-arm trial conducted in Japan in 2021, in which 76 employees aged 20 or older, from an insurance company, participated. They received a multi-component PA intervention that comprised individual (lecture, print material, goal setting, and feedback), socio-cultural (team building and supportive atmosphere), physical (poster), and organizational (encouraging message from an executive) strategies. The primary outcome was change in objectively measured moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA). A paired t-test was used to compare the changes between weeks 0 and 8. We also conducted a subdomain analysis of PA divided into four domains (working, non-working, commuting working, and remote working). Excluding 26 participants who could not complete valid assessments, the MVPA among participants (n = 50, age 49.6 ± 9.7) significantly increased by +7.3 min/day [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.8 to 13.8]. We also identified significant changes in MVPA by +10.0 min/day [95% CI, 3.7 to 16.3] in working days (n = 40), and by +7.1 min/day [95% CI, 0.4 to 13.7] in remote working days (n = 34). We demonstrated that multi-component PA interventions might improve MVPA among Japanese office workers. Full article
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12 pages, 357 KiB  
Article
Drivers with and without Obesity Respond Differently to a Multi-Component Health Intervention in Heavy Goods Vehicle Drivers
by Katharina Ruettger, Stacy A. Clemes, Yu-Ling Chen, Charlotte L. Edwardson, Amber Guest, Nicholas D. Gilson, Laura J. Gray, Vicki Johnson, Nicola J. Paine, Aron P. Sherry, Mohsen Sayyah, Jacqui Troughton, Veronica Varela-Mato, Thomas Yates and James A. King
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(23), 15546; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192315546 - 23 Nov 2022
Viewed by 2353
Abstract
Physical inactivity and obesity are widely prevalent in Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers. We analysed whether obesity classification influenced the effectiveness of a bespoke structured lifestyle intervention (‘SHIFT’) for HGV drivers. The SHIFT programme was evaluated within a cluster randomised controlled trial, across [...] Read more.
Physical inactivity and obesity are widely prevalent in Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers. We analysed whether obesity classification influenced the effectiveness of a bespoke structured lifestyle intervention (‘SHIFT’) for HGV drivers. The SHIFT programme was evaluated within a cluster randomised controlled trial, across 25 transport depots in the UK. After baseline assessments, participants within intervention sites received a 6-month multi-component health behaviour change intervention. Intervention responses (verses control) were stratified by obesity status (BMI < 30 kg/m2, n = 131; BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2, n = 113) and compared using generalised estimating equations. At 6-months, favourable differences were found in daily steps (adjusted mean difference 1827 steps/day, p < 0.001) and sedentary time (adjusted mean difference −57 min/day, p < 0.001) in drivers with obesity undertaking the intervention, relative to controls with obesity. Similarly, in drivers with obesity, the intervention reduced body weight (adjusted mean difference −2.37 kg, p = 0.002) and led to other favourable anthropometric outcomes, verses controls with obesity. Intervention effects were absent for drivers without obesity, and for all drivers at 16–18-months follow-up. Obesity classification influenced HGV drivers’ behavioural responses to a multi-component health-behaviour change intervention. Therefore, the most at-risk commercial drivers appear receptive to a health promotion programme. Full article
14 pages, 679 KiB  
Article
The Cost-Effectiveness of the SMART Work & Life Intervention for Reducing Sitting Time
by Edward Cox, Simon Walker, Charlotte L. Edwardson, Stuart J. H. Biddle, Alexandra M. Clarke-Cornwell, Stacy A. Clemes, Melanie J. Davies, David W. Dunstan, Helen Eborall, Malcolm H. Granat, Laura J. Gray, Genevieve N. Healy, Benjamin D. Maylor, Fehmidah Munir, Thomas Yates and Gerry Richardson
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(22), 14861; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192214861 - 11 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2406
Abstract
Sedentary behaviours continue to increase and are associated with heightened risks of morbidity and mortality. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of SMART Work & Life (SWAL), an intervention designed to reduce sitting time inside and outside of work, both with (SWAL-desk) and without (SWAL-only) [...] Read more.
Sedentary behaviours continue to increase and are associated with heightened risks of morbidity and mortality. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of SMART Work & Life (SWAL), an intervention designed to reduce sitting time inside and outside of work, both with (SWAL-desk) and without (SWAL-only) a height-adjustable workstation compared to usual practice (control) for UK office workers. Health outcomes were assessed in quality-adjusted life-years (QALY) and costs in pound sterling (2019–2020). Discounted costs and QALYs were estimated using regression methods with multiply imputed data from the SMART Work & Life trial. Absenteeism, productivity and wellbeing measures were also evaluated. The average cost of SWAL-desk was £228.31 and SWAL-only £80.59 per office worker. Within the trial, SWAL-only was more effective and costly compared to control (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER): £12,091 per QALY) while SWAL-desk was dominated (least effective and most costly). However, over a lifetime horizon, both SWAL-only and SWAL-desk were more effective and more costly than control. Comparing SWAL-only to control generated an ICER of £4985 per QALY. SWAL-desk was more effective and costly than SWAL-only, generating an ICER of £13,378 per QALY. Findings were sensitive to various worker, intervention, and extrapolation-related factors. Based on a lifetime horizon, SWAL interventions appear cost-effective for office-workers conditional on worker characteristics, intervention cost and longer-term maintenance in sitting time reductions. Full article
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