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Occupational Physical Activity Habits of UK Office Workers: Cross-Sectional Data from the Active Buildings Study

Smith, L; Sawyer, A; Gardner, B; Seppala, K; Ucci, M; Marmot, A; Lally, P; (2018) Occupational Physical Activity Habits of UK Office Workers: Cross-Sectional Data from the Active Buildings Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , 15 (6) , Article 1214. 10.3390/ijerph15061214. Green open access

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Abstract

Habitual behaviours are learned responses that are triggered automatically by associated environmental cues. The unvarying nature of most workplace settings makes workplace physical activity a prime candidate for a habitual behaviour, yet the role of habit strength in occupational physical activity has not been investigated. Aims of the present study were to: (i) document occupational physical activity habit strength; and (ii) investigate associations between occupational activity habit strength and occupational physical activity levels. A sample of UK office-based workers (n = 116; 53% female, median age 40 years, SD 10.52) was fitted with activPAL accelerometers worn for 24 h on five consecutive days, providing an objective measure of occupational step counts, stepping time, sitting time, standing time and sit-to-stand transitions. A self-report index measured the automaticity of two occupational physical activities (“being active” (e.g., walking to printers and coffee machines) and “stair climbing”). Adjusted linear regression models investigated the association between occupational activity habit strength and objectively-measured occupational step counts, stepping time, sitting time, standing time and sit-to-stand transitions. Eighty-one per cent of the sample reported habits for “being active”, and 62% reported habits for “stair climbing”. In adjusted models, reported habit strength for “being active” were positively associated with average occupational sit-to-stand transitions per hour (B = 0.340, 95% CI: 0.053 to 0.627, p = 0.021). “Stair climbing” habit strength was unexpectedly negatively associated with average hourly stepping time (B = −0.01, 95% CI: −0.01 to −0.00, p = 0.006) and average hourly occupational step count (B = −38.34, 95% CI: −72.81 to −3.88, p = 0.030), which may reflect that people with stronger stair-climbing habits compensate by walking fewer steps overall. Results suggest that stair-climbing and office-based occupational activity can be habitual. Interventions might fruitfully promote habitual workplace activity, although, in light of potential compensation effects, such interventions should perhaps focus on promoting moderate-intensity activity

Type: Article
Title: Occupational Physical Activity Habits of UK Office Workers: Cross-Sectional Data from the Active Buildings Study
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph15061214
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061214
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: automaticity, habit, occupational physical activity, sedentary behaviour, stair climbing
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett Sch of Const and Proj Mgt
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett Real Estate Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10050795
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