Activity Behaviors of University Staff in the Workplace: A Pilot Study

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health

Click name to view affiliation

Marie-Louise Bird
Search for other papers by Marie-Louise Bird in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Cecilia Shing
Search for other papers by Cecilia Shing in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Casey Mainsbridge
Search for other papers by Casey Mainsbridge in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Dean Cooley
Search for other papers by Dean Cooley in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Scott Pedersen
Search for other papers by Scott Pedersen in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Background:

Sedentary behavior is related to metabolic syndrome and might have implications for the long-term health of workers in a low activity environment. The primary aim of this pilot study was to determine activity levels of adults working at a University during work hours. A secondary aim was to determine the relationship between actual and perceived activity levels.

Methods:

Activity levels of university staff (n = 15, male = 7, age = 53 ± 7 years, BMI = 26.5 ± 2.5kg·m2) were monitored over 5 consecutive workdays using SenseWear accelerometers, then participants completed a questionnaire of their perception of workplace sedentary time.

Results:

Each participant spent 71.5 ± 13.1% (358 ± 78 min) of their workday being sedentary (< 1.5 METs), 15.6 ± 9.0% involved in light activity (1.5–3 METs), 11.7 ± 10.0% in moderate activity (3–5 METs), and 1.1 ± 1.3% in vigorous activity (> 5 METs) (P < .0001). The mean difference between actual (SenseWear < 1.5 METs) and perceived sitting time was –2 ± 32%; however, perceived sedentary time was reported with a range of under-to-over estimation of –75% to 51%.

Conclusion:

This pilot study identifies long periods of low metabolic activity during the workday and poor perception of individual sedentary time. Interventions to reduce sedentary time in the workplace may be necessary to ensure that the work environment does not adversely affect long-term health.

Bird (birdm@utas.edu.au) and Shing are with the School of Health Sciences, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia. Mainsbridge, Cooley, and Pedersen are with the Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia.

  • Collapse
  • Expand