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      Acceptability and feasibility of potential intervention strategies for influencing sedentary time at work: focus group interviews in executives and employees

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          Abstract

          Background

          Occupational sitting can be the largest contributor to overall daily sitting time in white-collar workers. With adverse health effects in adults, intervention strategies to influence sedentary time on a working day are needed. Therefore, the present aim was to examine employees’ and executives’ reflections on occupational sitting and to examine the potential acceptability and feasibility of intervention strategies to reduce and interrupt sedentary time on a working day.

          Methods

          Seven focus groups (four among employees, n = 34; three among executives, n = 21) were conducted in a convenience sample of three different companies in Flanders (Belgium), using a semi-structured questioning route in five themes [personal sitting patterns; intervention strategies during working hours, (lunch) breaks, commuting; and intervention approach]. The audiotaped interviews were verbatim transcribed, followed by a qualitative inductive content analysis in NVivo 10.

          Results

          The majority of participants recognized they spend their working day mostly sitting and associated this mainly with musculoskeletal health problems. Participants suggested a variety of possible strategies, primarily for working hours (standing during phone calls/meetings, PC reminders, increasing bathroom use by drinking more water, active sitting furniture, standing desks, rearranging the office) and (lunch) breaks (physical activity, movement breaks, standing tables). However, several barriers were reported, including productivity concerns, impracticality, awkwardness of standing, and the habitual nature of sitting. Facilitating factors were raising awareness, providing alternatives for simply standing, making some strategies obligatory and workers taking some personal responsibility.

          Conclusions

          There are some strategies targeting sedentary time on a working day that are perceived to be realistic and useful. However several barriers emerged, which future trials and practical initiatives should take into account.

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          Most cited references 35

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          Sedentary behaviors and subsequent health outcomes in adults a systematic review of longitudinal studies, 1996-2011.

          To systematically review and provide an informative synthesis of findings from longitudinal studies published since 1996 reporting on relationships between self-reported sedentary behavior and device-based measures of sedentary time with health-related outcomes in adults. Studies published between 1996 and January 2011 were identified by examining existing literature reviews and by systematic searches in Web of Science, MEDLINE, PubMed, and PsycINFO. English-written articles were selected according to study design, targeted behavior, and health outcome. Forty-eight articles met the inclusion criteria; of these, 46 incorporated self-reported measures including total sitting time; TV viewing time only; TV viewing time and other screen-time behaviors; and TV viewing time plus other sedentary behaviors. Findings indicate a consistent relationship of self-reported sedentary behavior with mortality and with weight gain from childhood to the adult years. However, findings were mixed for associations with disease incidence, weight gain during adulthood, and cardiometabolic risk. Of the three studies that used device-based measures of sedentary time, one showed that markers of obesity predicted sedentary time, whereas inconclusive findings have been observed for markers of insulin resistance. There is a growing body of evidence that sedentary behavior may be a distinct risk factor, independent of physical activity, for multiple adverse health outcomes in adults. Prospective studies using device-based measures are required to provide a clearer understanding of the impact of sedentary time on health outcomes. Copyright © 2011 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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            Breaks in sedentary time: beneficial associations with metabolic risk.

            Total sedentary (absence of whole-body movement) time is associated with obesity, abnormal glucose metabolism, and the metabolic syndrome. In addition to the effects of total sedentary time, the manner in which it is accumulated may also be important. We examined the association of breaks in objectively measured sedentary time with biological markers of metabolic risk. Participants (n = 168, mean age 53.4 years) for this cross-sectional study were recruited from the 2004-2005 Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study. Sedentary time was measured by an accelerometer (counts/minute(-1) or = 100) was considered a break. Fasting plasma glucose, 2-h plasma glucose, serum triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, weight, height, waist circumference, and resting blood pressure were measured. MatLab was used to derive the breaks variable; SPSS was used for the statistical analysis. Independent of total sedentary time and moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity time, increased breaks in sedentary time were beneficially associated with waist circumference (standardized beta = -0.16, 95% CI -0.31 to -0.02, P = 0.026), BMI (beta = -0.19, -0.35 to -0.02, P = 0.026), triglycerides (beta = -0.18, -0.34 to -0.02, P = 0.029), and 2-h plasma glucose (beta = -0.18, -0.34 to -0.02, P = 0.025). This study provides evidence of the importance of avoiding prolonged uninterrupted periods of sedentary (primarily sitting) time. These findings suggest new public health recommendations regarding breaking up sedentary time that are complementary to those for physical activity.
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              Sitting time and all-cause mortality risk in 222 497 Australian adults.

              Prolonged sitting is considered detrimental to health, but evidence regarding the independent relationship of total sitting time with all-cause mortality is limited. This study aimed to determine the independent relationship of sitting time with all-cause mortality. We linked prospective questionnaire data from 222 497 individuals 45 years or older from the 45 and Up Study to mortality data from the New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages (Australia) from February 1, 2006, through December 31, 2010. Cox proportional hazards models examined all-cause mortality in relation to sitting time, adjusting for potential confounders that included sex, age, education, urban/rural residence, physical activity, body mass index, smoking status, self-rated health, and disability. During 621 695 person-years of follow-up (mean follow-up, 2.8 years), 5405 deaths were registered. All-cause mortality hazard ratios were 1.02 (95% CI, 0.95-1.09), 1.15 (1.06-1.25), and 1.40 (1.27-1.55) for 4 to less than 8, 8 to less than 11, and 11 or more h/d of sitting, respectively, compared with less than 4 h/d, adjusting for physical activity and other confounders. The population-attributable fraction for sitting was 6.9%. The association between sitting and all-cause mortality appeared consistent across the sexes, age groups, body mass index categories, and physical activity levels and across healthy participants compared with participants with preexisting cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus. Prolonged sitting is a risk factor for all-cause mortality, independent of physical activity. Public health programs should focus on reducing sitting time in addition to increasing physical activity levels.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Katrien.DeCocker@ugent.be
                charleneveldeman@hotmail.com
                dirk.debacquer@ugent.be
                lutgard.braeckman@ugent.be
                Neville.Owen@bakeridi.edu.au
                greet.cardon@ugent.be
                ilse.debourdeaudhuij@ugent.be
                Journal
                Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act
                Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act
                The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
                BioMed Central (London )
                1479-5868
                18 February 2015
                18 February 2015
                2015
                : 12
                Affiliations
                [ ]Department of Movement and Sport Sciences, Ghent University, Watersportlaan 2, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
                [ ]Research Foundation Flanders, Egmontstraat 5, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
                [ ]Department of Public Health, Ghent University, De Pintelaan 185, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
                [ ]Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Level 4, 99 Commercial Rd, Melbourne, VIC 3004 Australia
                Article
                177
                10.1186/s12966-015-0177-5
                4344783
                © De Cocker et al.; licensee BioMed Central. 2015

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                © The Author(s) 2015

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