This efficacy study assessed the added impact real time computer prompts had on a participatory approach to reduce occupational sedentary exposure and increase physical activity.
57 Australian office workers (mean [SD]; age = 47  years; BMI = 28  kg/m2; 46 men) generated a menu of 20 occupational ‘sit less and move more’ strategies through participatory workshops, and were then tasked with implementing strategies for five months (July–November 2014). During implementation, a sub-sample of workers (n = 24) used a chair sensor/software package (Sitting Pad) that gave real time prompts to interrupt desk sitting. Baseline and intervention sedentary behaviour and physical activity (GENEActiv accelerometer; mean work time percentages), and minutes spent sitting at desks (Sitting Pad; mean total time and longest bout) were compared between non-prompt and prompt workers using a two-way ANOVA.
Workers spent close to three quarters of their work time sedentary, mostly sitting at desks (mean [SD]; total desk sitting time = 371  min/day; longest bout spent desk sitting = 104  min/day). Intervention effects were four times greater in workers who used real time computer prompts (8% decrease in work time sedentary behaviour and increase in light intensity physical activity; p < 0.01). Respective mean differences between baseline and intervention total time spent sitting at desks, and the longest bout spent desk sitting, were 23 and 32 min/day lower in prompt than in non-prompt workers (p < 0.01).
In this sample of office workers, real time computer prompts facilitated the impact of a participatory approach on reductions in occupational sedentary exposure, and increases in physical activity.