Reducing Sitting Time in the Workplace – Cluster Randomized Trial

Reducing Sitting Time in the Workplace – Cluster Randomized Trial

Many adults (and younger people!) spend a large portion of their day sedentary. In particular, office-based workers have been found to spend 73% of their workday and 66% of their waking day sitting! The emergence of recent evidence linking a high amount of sedentary time to downstream, deleterious health consequences such as increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers, anxiety/depression and other health issues exemplifies the need for work and lifestyle modifications for many working adults.

Various interventions have been targeted to reduce sitting time in the workplace and although promising results have been found, the quality of the evaluations have been very low to low quality of evidence due to various methodological concerns. Two recent large RCTs evaluated multicomponent interventions aimed at reducing sedentary behavior involving a height adjustable desk and found a difference of 45 minutes per eight hour workday in sitting time in favour of the intervention compared to the control. However, these studies only focused on sitting time at work and showed no impact on behavior outside of work. Furthermore,  these workplace interventions have been delivered alongside a height adjustable desk and therefore there isn’t an understanding if the effect of an intervention aimed at reducing sitting time without a height adjustable desk would be equally as effective. 

To address these research gaps, these authors conducted a large, multisite, cluster randomized controlled trial among desk-based employees. The primary objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of a Smart Work and Life (SWAL) intervention, with and without a height adjustable desk, on daily sitting time during and outside of work, compared with usual practice at a 12-month follow-up. If both interventions were shown to be effective compared to the control group, a secondary objective was to determine if one intervention was more effective than the other. 

RESEARCH REVIEW: “Reducing Sitting Time in the Workplace – Cluster Randomized Trial”

This paper was published in the British Medical Journal (2022) and this Review is posted in Ergonomics and the 2022 Archive.

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