Physical Activity Levels by Occupational Category in Non-Metropolitan Australian Adults

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between occupational category and 3 health-related behaviors: participation in leisure-time physical activity, active transport (AT) and occupational sitting in a sample of employed Australian adults.

Methods:

A random, cross-sectional sample of 592 adults aged 18 to 71 years completed a telephone survey in October/November 2006. Reported occupations were categorized as professional (n = 332, 56.1%), white-collar (n = 181, 30.6%), and blue-collar (n = 79, 13.3%). Relationships between occupational category and AT, sufficient physical activity and occupational sitting were examined using logistic regression.

Results:

White-collar employees (OR = 0.36, 95% CI 0.14−0.95) were less likely to engage in AT and more likely to engage in occupational sitting (OR = 3.10, 95% CI 1.63−5.92) when compared with blue-collar workers. Professionals (OR = 3.04, 95% CI 1.94−4.76) were also more likely to engage in occupational sitting compared with blue-collar workers. No relationship was observed between occupational category and engagement in sufficient physical activity.

Conclusions:

No association between occupational category and sufficient physical activity levels was observed, although white-collar and professionals were likely to engage in high levels of occupational sitting. Innovative and sustainable strategies are required to reduce occupational sitting to improve health.

Duncan is with the Centre for Physical Activity Studies, Institute for Health and Social Science Research, CQUniversity, Rockhampton, Australia. Badland is with the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Mummery was with the Centre for Physical Activity Studies, Institute for Health and Social Science Research, CQUniversity, Rockhampton, Australia at the time of writing. Mummery is now with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.