What Is the Effect on Obesity Indicators from Replacing Prolonged Sedentary Time with Brief Sedentary Bouts, Standing and Different Types of Physical Activity during Working Days? A Cross-Sectional Accelerometer-Based Study among Blue-Collar Workers

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  • Nidhi Gupta
  • Marina Heiden
  • Aadahl, Mette
  • Mette Korshoj
  • Marie Birk Jørgensen
  • Andreas Holtermann

Introduction: The aim of the study was to investigate if (a) substituting total sedentary time or long sedentary bouts with standing or various types of physical activity and (b) substituting long sedentary bouts with brief sedentary bouts; is associated with obesity indicators using a cross sectional isotemporal substitution approach among blue-collar workers.

Methods: A total of 692 workers from transportation, manufacturing and cleaning sectors wore an Actigraph GT3X+ accelerometer on the thigh for 1–4 working days. The sedentary (sit and lie), standing, walking, and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) time on working days was computed using validated Acti4 software. The total sedentary time and uninterrupted sedentary time spent in brief (≤5 mins), moderate (>5 and ≤30 mins), and long (>30mins) bouts, were determined for the whole day and during work and non-work time separately. The obesity indicators, BMI (kg/m2), waist circumference (cm) and fat percentage were objectively measured. Isotemporal substitution modelling was utilized to determine the linear association with obesity indicators of replacing 30 min of total sedentary time or long sedentary bouts with standing, walking or MVPA and separately replacing 30 min of long sedentary bouts with brief sedentary bouts.

Results: Workers [mean (standard deviation, SD); age = 45.1 (9.9) years, BMI = 27.5 (4.9) kg/m2, %BF = 29.6 (9.5), waist circumference = 94.4 (13.0) cm] sat for 2.4 hours (~32% of the measured time, SD = 1.8 hours) across the day during work period and 5.5 hours (~62% of the measured time, SD = 1.5 hours) during non-work period. Most of the sedentary time was accrued in moderate bouts [work = 1.40 (SD = 1.09) hours] during work and in long bouts during non-work [2.7 (SD = 1.4) hours], while least in long sedentary bouts during work [work = 0.5 (SD = 0.9)] and in brief sedentary bouts [0.5 hours (SD = 0.3)] during non-work. Significant associations with all obesity indicators were found when 30 min of total sedentary time or long sedentary bouts were replaced with standing time (~1–2% lower) or MVPA (~4–9% lower) during whole day, work, and non-work periods. The exception was that a statistically significant association was not observed with any obesity indicator when replacing total sedentary time or long sedentary bouts with standing time during the work period. Significant beneficial associations were found when replacing the long sedentary bouts with brief sedentary bouts (~3–5% lower) during all domains.

Conclusion: Replacing total sedentary time and long sedentary bouts, respectively, not only with MVPA but also standing time appears to be beneficially associated with obesity indicators among blue-collar workers. Additionally, replacing long sedentary bouts with brief sedentary bouts was also beneficially associated with obesity indicators. Studies using prospective design are needed to confirm the findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere015493
JournalP L o S One
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2016

ID: 162672419