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Special Issue "Occupational Sedentary Behaviour"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Sharon Parry

School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: physical activity; sedentary behaviour; occupational/workplace physical activity and sedentary behaviour; work-related musculoskeletal pain/discomfort

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In this “Technological Age”, there is a greater proportion of the workforce working in sedentary occupations. In addition, sedentary workers are also spending the majority of working hours sedentary or sitting. Recent evidence suggests that prolonged and uninterrupted sedentary time is a risk factor to all-cause mortality and many chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer. This risk many be independent of participation in regular physical activity. While the move from physically demanding jobs has reduced some associated health risks, it may have created a new set of health risks that needs to be addressed.

As adults spend the majority of waking hours at work, the workplace is a convenient place to, not only monitor health behaviours, but to also implement health promotion interventions. Reducing occupational sedentary behaviour, predominately occupational sitting, is increasingly being identified as a health priority. While there is a growing body of research that is exploring occupational sedentary behaviour, more research into safe sedentary thresholds, targeted interventions to reduce occupational sedentary behaviour is needed.

This Special Issue will bring together the latest research addressing the monitoring of occupational sedentary behaviour and innovative workplace interventions to reduce occupational sedentary time and consequently improve the health of sedentary workers.

Dr. Sharon Parry
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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 1600 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

  • sedentary behaviour
  • physical activity
  • occupation
  • workplace
  • sit-stand desks
  • sit-stand workstations
  • active workplace

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Introducing a Dynamic Workstation in the Office: Insights in Characteristics of Use and Short-Term Changes of Well-Being in a 12 Week Observational Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2501; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112501
Received: 6 July 2018 / Revised: 16 October 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 8 November 2018
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Abstract
The present field study evaluates the use of dynamic workstations (cycling devices) in a real-life office environment. Specific characteristics of use were recorded and possible relationships with short-term changes in well-being were investigated. For a period of 12 weeks, 36 employees were given
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The present field study evaluates the use of dynamic workstations (cycling devices) in a real-life office environment. Specific characteristics of use were recorded and possible relationships with short-term changes in well-being were investigated. For a period of 12 weeks, 36 employees were given free access to eight devices. Frequency, duration and speed of use were self-determined but registered objectively for every event of use. Immediately before and after using a cycling device, employees rated their well-being with a modified version of the EZ-scale from Nitsch to assess changes in the short-term. In total, 817 events of use were registered. On each day of the intervention period one of the devices was used. Participants used the devices between one day to all days present at the office, for 21.09 (SD 0.58) to 31.58 (SD 2.19) minutes on average per event of use per day. Comparing the pre- and post-measurements, a significant increase in well-being after using a cycling device was found. Results of a Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) analysis showed mixed effects for the duration of use, the speed and variation of speed on the probability of reporting positive changes in recovery, calmness and mood. Therefore, using cycling devices in the office might improve short-term well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Sedentary Behaviour)
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Open AccessArticle Long-Term Access to Sit-Stand Workstations in a Large Office Population: User Profiles Reveal Differences in Sitting Time and Perceptions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 2019; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15092019
Received: 25 July 2018 / Revised: 6 September 2018 / Accepted: 13 September 2018 / Published: 15 September 2018
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Abstract
Background: To decrease the detrimental health effects of prolonged sitting, the implementation of sit-stand workstations is a commonly used intervention for office workers. Most studies on this topic evaluated the effects of newly introduced sit-stand workstations. The objective of this study was
[...] Read more.
Background: To decrease the detrimental health effects of prolonged sitting, the implementation of sit-stand workstations is a commonly used intervention for office workers. Most studies on this topic evaluated the effects of newly introduced sit-stand workstations. The objective of this study was to determine how often and how long the standing option is used and how the use of sit-stand workstations is perceived in office workers with long-term access to these workstations. Methods: Using an online survey, 1098 office employees responded to questions about frequency of usage of the sit-stand workstation, sitting time, physical activity, and positive and negative perceptions of the use of the sit-stand workstations. Results: Based on the frequency of use, three user groups were identified: non-users (32.1%), monthly/weekly users (37.5%) and daily users (30.4%). Non-users reported to sit more, stand less and have longer bouts of sitting, compared to monthly/weekly users, and these differences were even larger compared to daily users. A higher proportion of daily users perceived the use of the sit-stand workstation as being more healthy and appealing and making them more productive and energetic compared to the non-users. A higher proportion of the non-users perceived it as being uncomfortable, distracting, and unpractical, compared to the other user groups. Conclusions: The differences between the three identified user groups with respect to sitting, standing and perceptions of sit-stand workstations, might be helpful in tailoring future interventions to reduce occupational sitting time, to increase the reach, effectiveness and sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Sedentary Behaviour)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluating Short-Term Musculoskeletal Pain Changes in Desk-Based Workers Receiving a Workplace Sitting-Reduction Intervention
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1975; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091975
Received: 20 July 2018 / Revised: 29 August 2018 / Accepted: 7 September 2018 / Published: 10 September 2018
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Abstract
This paper explores changes in musculoskeletal pain among desk-based workers over three months of a workplace-delivered, sitting-reduction intervention. Participants (n = 153, 46% female; mean ± SD aged 38.9 ± 8.0 years) were cluster-randomized (n = 18 work teams) to receive
[...] Read more.
This paper explores changes in musculoskeletal pain among desk-based workers over three months of a workplace-delivered, sitting-reduction intervention. Participants (n = 153, 46% female; mean ± SD aged 38.9 ± 8.0 years) were cluster-randomized (n = 18 work teams) to receive an organizational change intervention, with or without an activity tracker. A modified Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire assessed pain intensity (0–9; none–worst possible) in the neck, upper and lower back, upper and lower extremities, and in total. The activPAL3 (7 days, 24 h/day protocol) measured sitting and prolonged sitting in ≥30 min bouts at work. Mixed models adjusting for cluster and intervention arm examined changes in pain (n = 104), and their associations with reductions in sitting and prolonged sitting (h/10 h at work) (n = 90). Changes in pain were nonsignificant (p ≥ 0.05) and small for total pain (−0.06 [95% CI: −0.27, 0.16]) and for each body area (−0.26 [−0.66, 0.15] for upper back to 0.09 [−0.39, 0.56] for lower back). Sitting reduction was associated with reduced lower back pain (−0.84 [−1.44, −0.25] per hour, p = 0.005); other effects were small and non-significant. No substantial average changes in pain were seen; some improvement in lower back pain might be expected with larger sitting reductions. Larger samples and diverse interventions are required for more definitive evidence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Sedentary Behaviour)
Open AccessCommunication Many Kansas Worksites Offer Few Interventions to Reduce Occupational Sedentary Behavior
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1745; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081745
Received: 11 July 2018 / Revised: 3 August 2018 / Accepted: 9 August 2018 / Published: 14 August 2018
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to identify the extent to which sedentary behavior interventions are being implemented in Kansas worksites. The WorkWell KS Physical Activity Assessment was administered online to 111 worksites across Kansas from October 2016 through April 2018. Each worksite
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The purpose of this study was to identify the extent to which sedentary behavior interventions are being implemented in Kansas worksites. The WorkWell KS Physical Activity Assessment was administered online to 111 worksites across Kansas from October 2016 through April 2018. Each worksite identified a point of contact to complete the worksite-level assessment. Four of the WorkWell KS Physical Activity Assessment’s items assessed interventions that may reduce employees’ sedentary behavior: offering point-of-decision prompts to reduce employees’ sedentary behavior, offering a program for employees to reduce their sedentary time at work, having an organizational norm that allows employees to stand, stretch, and/or move during meetings at least every 30 minutes, and offering standing desks. All 111 worksites that participated in the WorkWell KS Physical Activity Workshop completed the WorkWell KS Physical Activity Assessment, resulting in a 100% response rate. Most worksites (59%, n = 65) reported offering no information, program, policy, or environmental change interventions aimed to reduce sedentary behavior. The most commonly reported intervention offered by worksites to reduce employees’ sedentary behavior was standing desks (32%, n = 35). Overall, participating worksites reported implementing a few interventions that are designed to reduce sedentary behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Sedentary Behaviour)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Short Term Musculoskeletal and Cognitive Effects of Prolonged Sitting During Office Computer Work
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1678; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081678
Received: 14 July 2018 / Revised: 1 August 2018 / Accepted: 2 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
Office workers are exposed to high levels of sedentary time. In addition to cardio-vascular and metabolic health risks, this sedentary time may have musculoskeletal and/or cognitive impacts on office workers. Participants (n = 20) undertook two hours of laboratory-based sitting computer work to
[...] Read more.
Office workers are exposed to high levels of sedentary time. In addition to cardio-vascular and metabolic health risks, this sedentary time may have musculoskeletal and/or cognitive impacts on office workers. Participants (n = 20) undertook two hours of laboratory-based sitting computer work to investigate changes in discomfort and cognitive function (sustained attention and problem solving), along with muscle fatigue, movement and mental state. Over time, discomfort increased in all body areas (total body IRR [95% confidence interval]: 1.43 [1.33–1.53]) reaching clinically meaningful levels in the low back and hip/thigh/buttock areas. Creative problem solving errors increased (β = 0.25 [0.03–1.47]) while sustained attention did not change. There was no change in erector spinae, trapezius, rectus femoris, biceps femoris and external oblique median frequency or amplitude; low back angle changed towards less lordosis, pelvis movement increased, and mental state deteriorated. There were no substantial correlations between discomfort and cognitive function. The observed changes suggest prolonged sitting may have consequences for musculoskeletal discomfort and cognitive function and breaks to interrupt prolonged sitting are recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Sedentary Behaviour)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Does a Classroom Standing Desk Intervention Modify Standing and Sitting Behaviour and Musculoskeletal Symptoms during School Time and Physical Activity during Waking Time?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1668; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081668
Received: 9 July 2018 / Revised: 25 July 2018 / Accepted: 2 August 2018 / Published: 6 August 2018
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Abstract
Children are increasingly spending more time sedentary at school and during leisure time. This study examined the effects of a standing desk intervention in a classroom on children’s standing and sitting time at school, sedentary and physical activity levels throughout the day (waking
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Children are increasingly spending more time sedentary at school and during leisure time. This study examined the effects of a standing desk intervention in a classroom on children’s standing and sitting time at school, sedentary and physical activity levels throughout the day (waking hours), and musculoskeletal discomfort. A within-subjects crossover study design was used. Participants used either a standing desk or traditional seated desk for 21 days before swapping desks for another 21 days. Accelerometry and musculoskeletal discomfort data were collected during the last seven days of each 21-day period. Mixed models were used to analyse accelerometry data. Zero-inflated regression models and logistic regression models were used to analyse discomfort data. Forty-seven male students (aged 10–11 years) participated in the study. Standing time was 21 min/school day higher (p < 0.001) and sitting time was 24 min/school day lower (p = 0.003) when standing desks were used. No significant differences were found in sedentary and physical activity time during waking hours between the standing desk and seated desk conditions. Students were less likely to report musculoskeletal discomfort in the neck, shoulder, elbows and lower back when using standing desks (OR 0.52–0.74). Standing desks significantly increased classroom standing time and decreased musculoskeletal discomfort reports but had no overall effect on daily physical activity levels. Schools should consider moving towards classrooms enabling a variety of postures to potentially improve the long-term health of children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Sedentary Behaviour)
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Open AccessArticle Multi-Stakeholder Perspectives of Factors That Influence Contact Centre Call Agents’ Workplace Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1484; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071484
Received: 27 June 2018 / Revised: 5 July 2018 / Accepted: 9 July 2018 / Published: 13 July 2018
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Abstract
Contact centre call agents are highly sedentary at work, which can negatively affect cardio-metabolic health. This qualitative cross-sectional study explored factors influencing call agents’ workplace physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviour (SB), and perspectives on strategies to help agents move more and sit
[...] Read more.
Contact centre call agents are highly sedentary at work, which can negatively affect cardio-metabolic health. This qualitative cross-sectional study explored factors influencing call agents’ workplace physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviour (SB), and perspectives on strategies to help agents move more and sit less at work. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups with call agents (n = 20), team leaders (n = 11) and senior staff (n = 12) across four contact centres were guided by the socio-ecological model and analysed thematically. Agents offered insights into the impact of high occupational sitting and low PA on their physical and mental health, and factors influencing their motivation to move more and sit less at work. Team leaders, although pivotal in influencing behaviours, identified their own workload, and agents’ requirement to meet targets, as factors influencing their ability to promote agents to move more and sit less at work. Further, senior team leaders offered a broad organisational perspective on influential factors, including business needs and the importance of return on investment from PA and SB interventions. Unique factors, including continuous monitoring of productivity metrics and personal time, a physical connection to their workstation, and low autonomy over their working practices, seemed to limit call agents’ opportunity to move more and sit less at work. Proposed strategies included acknowledgement of PA and SB within policy and job roles, height-adjustable workstations, education and training sessions and greater interpersonal support. Additionally, measuring the impact of interventions was perceived to be key for developing a business case and enhancing organisational buy-in. Multi-level interventions embedded into current working practices appear important for the multiple stakeholders, while addressing concerns regarding productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Sedentary Behaviour)
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Open AccessArticle Changes in Sitting Time and Sitting Fragmentation after a Workplace Sedentary Behaviour Intervention
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1148; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061148
Received: 4 May 2018 / Revised: 26 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018
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Abstract
Prolonged sedentary behaviour (SB) has shown to be detrimental to health. Nevertheless, population levels of SB are high and interventions to decrease SB are needed. This study aimed to explore the effect of a personalized intervention aimed at reducing SB and increasing breaks
[...] Read more.
Prolonged sedentary behaviour (SB) has shown to be detrimental to health. Nevertheless, population levels of SB are high and interventions to decrease SB are needed. This study aimed to explore the effect of a personalized intervention aimed at reducing SB and increasing breaks in SB among college employees. A pre-experimental study design was used. Participants (n = 36) were recruited at a college in Massachusetts, USA. SB was measured over 7 consecutive days using an activPAL3 accelerometer. Following baseline measures, all participants received a personalized SB consultation which focused on limiting bouts of SB >30 min, participants also received weekly follow-up e-mails. Post-intervention measures were taken after 16 weeks. Primary outcome variables were sedentary minutes/day and SB bouts >30 min. Differences between baseline and follow-up were analyzed using paired t-tests. The intervention did not change daily sedentary time (−0.48%; p > 0.05). The number of sedentary bouts >30 min decreased significantly by 0.52 bouts/day (p = 0.010). In this study, a personalized SB intervention was successful in reducing number of bouts >30 min of SB. However, daily sedentary time did not reduce significantly. These results indicate that personalized, consultation-based interventions may be effective if focused on a specific component of SB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Sedentary Behaviour)
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of a Leisure Time Physical Activity Intervention Delivered via a Workplace: 15-Month Follow-Up Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020264
Received: 17 November 2017 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 4 February 2018
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Abstract
In line with recommendations from both the World Health Organization and the European Union some employers encourage workplace health promotion through physical activity (PA) facilities and leisure time PA-initiatives. The current study describes a 15-month follow-up after an 8-week workplace delivered PA-initiative, investigates
[...] Read more.
In line with recommendations from both the World Health Organization and the European Union some employers encourage workplace health promotion through physical activity (PA) facilities and leisure time PA-initiatives. The current study describes a 15-month follow-up after an 8-week workplace delivered PA-initiative, investigates if improvements in cardiovascular risk status are sustainable, and elucidates differences according to educational level. One hundred and twenty one employees (43 women) were examined before and after the 8-week PA-initiative and 94 at the 15-month follow-up. PA-levels, blood pressure, resting heart rate, lipids, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), C-reactive protein (CRP), and selected markers of inflammation were registered at baseline, immediately after the 8-week PA-initiative, and 15 months after baseline. At the end of follow-up (15-month), PA-levels—increased during the 8-week intervention—had returned to baseline values. None of the five improvements in cardiovascular markers (total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL), P-selectin, CD40Ligand (CD40L) and Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1)) seen at the 8-week follow-up were sustained. At the 15-month follow-up as compared to baseline HbA1c, CRP (log) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) were reduced by 0.06 mmol/L (95% CI −0.11,−0.01), 0.25 mg/L (95% CI −0.46,−0.04) and 0.39 pg/mL (95% CI −0.75, −0.04), respectively. At baseline, there were differences in cardiovascular risk factors comparing men with low versus high levels of education. No differences in changes in outcomes between these groups of men were found during follow-up. In this study highly educated men generally have lower levels of cardiovascular risk factors, but the effect of PA on such markers in this group do not differ from the effects seen in less educated men. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Sedentary Behaviour)
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