Daily Physical Activity by Occupational Classification in US Adults: NHANES 2005–2006

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Jeremy A. Steeves
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Catrine Tudor-Locke
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Rachel A. Murphy
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George A. King
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Eugene C. Fitzhugh
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David R. Bassett
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Dane Van Domelen
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John M. Schuna Jr
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Tamara B. Harris
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Background: Little is known about the daily physical activity (PA) levels of people employed in different occupational categories. Methods: Nine ActiGraph accelerometer-derived daily PA variables are presented and ranked for adults (N = 1465, 20–60 y) working in the 22 occupational categories assessed by NHANES 2005–2006. A composite score was generated for each occupational category by summing the rankings of 3 accelerometer-derived daily PA variables known to have strong associations with health outcomes (total activity counts [TAC], moderate to vigorous PA minutes per week in modified 10-minute bouts [MVPA 10], and percentage of time spent in sedentary activity [SB%]). Results: Classified as high-activity occupational categories, “farming, fishing, forestry,” and “building & grounds cleaning, maintenance” occupations had the greatest TAC (461 996 and 449 452), most MVPA 10 (149.6 and 97.8), most steps per day (10 464 and 11 602), and near the lowest SB% (45.2% and 45.4%). “Community, social services” occupations, classified as low-activity occupational categories, had the second lowest TAC (242 085), least MVPA 10 (12.1), fewest steps per day (5684), and near the highest SB% (64.2%). Conclusions: There is a strong association between occupational category and daily activity levels. Objectively measured daily PA permitted the classification of the 22 different occupational categories into 3 activity groupings.

Steeves is with the Division of Education, Maryville College, Maryville, TN. Tudor-Locke is with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA. Murphy is with the Centre of Excellence in Cancer Prevention, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. King is with the Department of Kinesiology, Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX. Fitzhugh and Bassett are with the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sports Studies, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. Van Domelen is with the Department of Biostatistics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. Schuna is with the School of Biological and Population Health Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. Harris is with the Laboratory of Epidemiology & Population Science, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, MD.

Steeves (jeremy.steeves@maryvillecollege.edu) is corresponding author.

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