Sedentary and Physical Activity Behavior in “Blue-Collar” Workers: A Systematic Review of Accelerometer Studies

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Nicholas D. Gilson
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Caitlin Hall
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Andreas Holtermann
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Allard J. van der Beek
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Maaike A. Huysmans
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Svend Erik Mathiassen
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Leon Straker
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Background: This systematic review assessed evidence on the accelerometer-measured sedentary and physical activity (PA) behavior of nonoffice workers in “blue-collar” industries. Methods: The databases CINAHL, Embase, MEDLINE, PubMed, and Scopus were searched up to April 6, 2018. Eligibility criteria were accelerometer-measured sedentary, sitting, and/or PA behaviors in “blue-collar” workers (≥10 participants; agricultural, construction, cleaning, manufacturing, mining, postal, or transport industries). Data on participants’ characteristics, study protocols, and measured behaviors during work and/or nonwork time were extracted. Methodologic quality was assessed using a 12-item checklist. Results: Twenty studies (representing 11 data sets), all from developed world economies, met inclusion criteria. The mean quality score for selected studies was 9.5 (SD 0.8) out of a maximum of 12. Data were analyzed using a range of analytical techniques (eg, accelerometer counts or pattern recognition algorithms). “Blue-collar” workers were more sedentary and less active during nonwork compared with work time (eg, sitting 5.7 vs 3.2 h/d; moderate to vigorous PA 0.5 vs 0.7 h/d). Drivers were the most sedentary (work time 5.1 h/d; nonwork time 8.2 h/d). Conclusions: High levels of sedentary time and insufficient PA to offset risk are health issues for “blue-collar” workers. To better inform interventions, research groups need to adopt common measurement and reporting methodologies.

Gilson is with the Centre for Research on Exercise, Physical Activity and Health, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia; and Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Hall is with the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Holtermann is with the National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark; and the Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. van der Beek and Huysmans are with the Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Mathiassen is with the Department of Occupational Health Sciences and Psychology, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, University of Gävle, Gävle, Sweden. Straker is with the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Faculty of Health Science, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia.

Gilson (n.gilson1@uq.edu.au) is corresponding author.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Table 1 (PDF 110 KB)
    • Supplementary Table 2 (PDF 140 KB)
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