Exertime Research

A workplace intervention designed to interrupt prolonged occupational sitting: Self-reported perceptions of health from a cohort of desk-based employees over 26 weeks
AuthorsCP Mainsbridge, PD Cooley, SP Fraser, SJ Pedersen
JournalInternational Journal of Workplace Health Management
Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effectiveness of a workplace intervention designed to interrupt prolonged occupational sitting time (POST) and its impact on the self-reported health of a cohort of desk-based employees.

Design/methodology/approach: In total, 43 participants received an interactive computer-based software intervention for 26 weeks. For the first 13 weeks the intervention passively prompted the participants to interrupt POST and perform brief bouts of non-purposeful movement. The second 13 weeks involved the passivity of the intervention being removed, with the intervention only accessible voluntarily by the participant. This approach was adopted to determine the sustainability of the intervention to change workplace health behaviour.

Findings: ANOVA results revealed a significant interaction between group and test occasion, F(2, 42)=2.79, p < 0.05, such that the experimental group increased their total health from pre-test to post-test (13 weeks), and to second post-test (26 weeks) with a medium effect size of Cohen’s d=0.37.

Research limitations/implications: An action research approach was implemented for this study, and hence the participants were organised into one group. Based on a communitarian model, the intervention aimed to monitor how desk-based employees adapted to specific health behaviours, and therefore a control group was not included.

Practical implications: Passively prompting desk-based employees to interrupt POST and perform non-purposeful movement at work improved self-reported health. Participant perceptions of health were maintained following the removal of the passive feature of the intervention.

Social implications: Interventions predicated on a social ecological model that modify how employees interact with the workplace environment might provide a framework for health behaviour change in populations where sitting is customary.

Originality/value: The passive approach used in this study removed the individual decision-making process to engage in health behaviour change, and established a sustainable effect on participant health.

The effect of an e-health intervention designed to reduce prolonged occupational sitting on mean arterial pressure
AuthorsCP Mainsbridge, PD Cooley, SP Fraser, SJ Pedersen
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
AbstractTo evaluate the effect of a workplace health intervention designed to reduce prolonged occupational sitting on the mean arterial pressure (MAP) of desk-based employees. This randomized controlled trial involved an experimental group who received an e-health intervention and a control group who did not. The 13-week intervention passively prompted participants to stand and engage in short bouts of office-based physical activity by interrupting prolonged occupational sitting time periodically throughout the workday. Mean arterial pressure was measured at pretest and posttest. Between pretest and posttest the experimental group significantly reduced their MAP, whereas MAP in the control group did not. A workplace e-health intervention designed to reduce prolonged occupational sitting was effective in decreasing MAP in desk-based employees.
An e-health intervention designed to increase workday energy expenditure by reducing prolonged occupational sitting habits
AuthorsSJ Pedersen, PD Cooley, CP Mainsbridge
JournalWORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation
AbstractDesk-based employees face multiple workplace health hazards such as insufficient physical activity and prolonged sitting. The objective of this study was to increase workday energy expenditure by interrupting prolonged occupational sitting time and introducing short-bursts of physical activity to employees' daily work habits. Over a 13-week period participants (n = 17) in the intervention group were regularly exposed to a passive prompt delivered through their desktop computer that required them to stand up and engage in a short-burst of physical activity, while the control group (n = 17) was not exposed to this intervention. Instead, the control group continued with their normal work routine. All participants completed a pre- and post- intervention survey to estimate workplace daily energy expenditure (calories). There was a significant 2 (Group) × 2 (Test) interaction, F (1, 32) = 9.26, p < 0.05. The intervention group increased the calories expended during the workday from pre-test (M = 866.29 ± 151.40) to post-test (M = 1054.10 ± 393.24), whereas the control group decreased calories expended during the workday from pre-test (M = 982.55 ± 315.66) to post-test (M = 892.21 ± 255.36). An e-health intervention using a passive prompt was an effective mechanism for increasing employee work-related energy expenditure. Engaging employees in regular short-bursts of physical activity during the workday resulted in reduced sitting time, which may have long-term effects on the improvement of employee health.
Assessment of the impact of a workplace intervention to reduce prolonged occupational sitting time
AuthorsPD Cooley, SJ Pedersen, CP Mainsbridge
JournalQualitative Health Research
AbstractWe aim to provide a better picture of the outcomes associated with implementing a nonpurposeful, physical activity, e-health intervention in a professional workplace. There is a need for health professionals to evaluate physical-activity-based workplace health interventions with a full range of measures. Using a social ecological model as a basis, we identify a range of subjective outcomes from 15 interviews of a cross section of participants. We document that not only did participants report a range of positive outcomes across multiple systems of influence, but they experienced some negative outcomes because of disruption to work flow and a changing of work habit. We conclude that using subjective evaluations provides a comprehensive picture of the factors that influence judgments of the efficacy of a workplace health intervention.
The effect of education on compliance to a workplace health and wellbeing intervention: Closing the loop
AuthorsSmith L, SJ Pedersen, PD Cooley
JournalUniversal Journal of Public Health
AbstractDesk-based worksites are increasingly the focus of workplace health and wellbeing interventions. These interventions often utilize an educational session prior to participants engaging, yet limited studies have specifically examined the effect education has on compliance. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect pre-intervention participant education had on the odds of compliance to a passive e-health software program designed to increase non-exercise activity thermogenesis throughout the workday. Participants in the experimental group (n=46) were exposed to multifaceted pre-intervention participant education one day prior to initiating the e-health software intervention for an eight-week study period. The control group (n=33) also received the intervention for eight weeks, however these participants received no education prior to initiation. The e-health software had a self-report progress recording function, which recorded all logged movement entries to gain frequency counts of per day usage. The experimental group logged more active days, more movements per day and was significantly more compliant to the e-health software (OR=1.87, 95% CI = 1.56-2.24). A pre-intervention participant education session, coupled with a passive e-health software program, was an effective mechanism for decreasing prolonged employee sedentary periods and increasing movement throughout the workday.
A pilot study of increasing nonpurposeful movement breaks at work as a means of reducing prolonged sitting
AuthorsPD Cooley, SJ Pedersen
JournalJournal of Environmental and Public Health
AbstractThere is a plethora of workplace physical activity interventions designed to increase purposeful movement, yet few are designed to alleviate prolonged occupational sitting time. A pilot study was conducted to test the feasibility of a workplace e-health intervention based on a passive approach to increase nonpurposeful movement as a means of reducing sitting time. The study was trialled in a professional workplace with forty-six participants (33 females and 13 males) for a period of twenty-six weeks. Participants in the first thirteen weeks received a passive prompt every 45 minutes on their computer screen reminding them to stand and engage in nonpurposeful activity throughout their workday. After thirteen weeks, the prompt was disabled, and participants were then free to voluntary engage the software. Results demonstrated that when employees were exposed to a passive prompt, as opposed to an active prompt, they were five times more likely to fully adhere to completing a movement break every hour of the workday. Based on this pilot study, we suggest that the notion that people are willing to participate in a coercive workplace e-health intervention is promising, and there is a need for further investigation.