Background: Prolonged, uninterrupted sitting time is associated with poor health outcomes. As most sitting time occurs at work, accurate, objective measurement of occupational sitting patterns is required to fully understand its effects on employee health. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine associations of desk-based sitting patterns with waist circumference (WC) and BMI. Methods: Participants were full-time, office-based employees (N=105; mean age 40.9±11.5 years; BMI 26.1±3.9; 65% women). Sitting patterns (total desk-based sitting time and number of times employees got up from their desk) were assessed for 5 days using an objective measure of desk-based sitting: the sitting pad. WC, height, and weight were measured, and BMI was calculated. Associations of sitting patterns with WC and BMI were tested using logistic regression models. Data were collected and analyzed in 2011-2012.
Results: Those with high levels of sitting time at their desk were 2.7 times (95% CI=1.3, 6.3) more likely to have WC ≥94 cm (men) and ≥80 cm (women), and 9.0 times (95% CI=1.9, 41.9) more likely to have BMI ≥30 than those with lower sitting time. There were no associations between the number of times employees got up from sitting at their desk and WC or BMI.
Conclusions: High levels of desk-based sitting time were associated with an increased likelihood of negative weight-related health outcomes, whereas frequency of getting up from sitting at the desk was not.