The Effect of New Shower Facilities on Physical Activity Behaviors of Employees: A Quasi-experiment

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

This quasi-experimental study assessed the effects of new workplace showers on physical activity behaviors in a sample of downtown employees in Austin, TX.

Methods:

The study design was quasi-experimental with 2 comparison groups. Data were collected via internet-based surveys before and 4 months after shower installation at 1 worksite. Differences across study groups in the ranks of change in past-week minutes of physical activity from baseline to follow-up were assessed. Adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for reporting an increase of ≥10 min past-week physical activity and workday physical activity among those with new showers and existing showers relative to those with no showers were also assessed.

Results:

No significant differences in changes in physical activity from baseline to follow-up across study groups were found. One-quarter of participants with new workplace showers and 46.9% of those with existing workplace showers at baseline reported ever using the showers.

Conclusions:

This prospective study did not find significant changes in employee physical activity 4 months after installation of worksite showers. Worksite shower users were highly active at baseline, suggesting a possible early adopter effect, with potential for diffusion. Future studies may benefit from longer exposure times and larger samples.

Nehme and Kohl are with the Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences; Pérez is with the Division of Biostatistics; Ranjit is with the Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences; The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, TX. Kohl is also with the Dept of Kinesiology and Health Education, The University of Texas at Austin.

Amick is with the Dept of Health Policy and Management, Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, Florida International University. Nehme (enehme@utsystem.edu) is corresponding author.