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Associations of Physical and Social Workplace Characteristics with Movement Behaviors at Work

on January 29, 2024



Sedentary behavior (SB) is common in desk-based work, and prolonged periods of SB are associated with negative health outcomes. This study assessed associations between workplace characteristics and setting and movement patterns during working hours.



This secondary analysis used baseline data from the Reducing Sedentary Behavior to Decrease Blood Pressure clinical trial, which enrolled inactive, desk-based workers with elevated blood pressure (n = 271; mean age, 45.3 ± 11.6 yr; body mass index, 30.66 ± 7.1 kg·m−2; 59.4% women). Physical and social workplace characteristics were assessed by a study-developed questionnaire and the Office Environment and Sitting Scale. Participants also wore an activPAL activity monitor for 7 d and reported working hours in a diary to measure SB and physical activity (PA) specifically while working. Linear regression was used to analyze cross-sectional associations between workplace characteristics and SB and PA. A stratified analysis was also conducted to assess associations among home-based and in-office desk workers separately. Analyses were adjusted for age, gender, body mass index, and work wear time.



Participants spent 77% of working hours in SB. Public versus private offices, working in-office versus at home, higher local connectivity, and greater overall connectedness were associated with lower SB and/or greater PA (all P < 0.05). Higher frequency of face-to-face interactions, and greater visibility and proximity to coworkers were associated with less SB and more PA (all P < 0.05). For example, home-based workers had more total SB (+17.2 ± 8.4 min per day), more SB bouts ≥30 min (+39.1 ± 12.8 min per day), and less steps (695 ± 201 steps per day) than in-office employees. Stratification by office setting revealed differences in associations between SB and PA and workplace characteristics.



More public, open spaces with more social interactions and physical walkways could improve SB and PA patterns during work. Home-based workers had more SB, less PA, and unique associations of these activities with workplace characteristics, suggesting a need for tailored interventions.

Authors: Holmes, Anthony J; Quinn, Tyler D; Conroy, Molly B; Paley, Joshua L; Huber, Kimberly A; Barone Gibbs, Bethany

Full text link: Associations of Physical and Social Workplace Characteristic... : Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine (


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