Quantitative and qualitative analysis of an individualized consultation to change sedentary behavior in the workplace

Alison Kirk, Ann-Marie Gibson, Adrienne Hughes, David Muggeridge

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Independent of an individual’s physical activity levels, prolonged periods of sedentary behavior are detrimental to health. Office-based workers engage in prolonged periods of sitting and are a target group for intervention. Individualized consultations have potential to change sedentary behavior and offer a low cost alternative to interventions such as sit-to-stand desks. PURPOSE: To report quantitative and qualitative outcomes from a randomized controlled trial exploring the use of an individualized consultation intervention to change sedentary behavior in the workplace. METHODS: 48 participants (42F, 6M, mean age 42.9±12.0 yrs, BMI 25.2±3.8 kg/m2) were recruited from a university by workplace email and poster distribution. Participants were > 18yrs with full time desk based occupations. Participants were randomized to a control group (n=23) or an intervention (n=25) group who received a 30-45 minute individual consultation incorporating behavior change strategies to support reducing sedentary behavior. Before and after the intervention participants wore an activPAL monitor for 7 days. A sub-sample of 16 intervention participants took part in semi-structured interviews exploring intervention perceptions. RESULTS: No changes were reported in overall, weekday or weekend mean sitting, standing or stepping time; step count; sit-to-stand transitions or % of waking day spent sitting, standing or stepping (p>0.05). Semi-structured interviews provided insight into participant intervention perceptions. Many participants mentioned increased knowledge and awareness of sedentary behavior and the associated physical and psychological benefits. However, several barriers to behavior change were reported including: social norms within a workplace; perceived negative opinion of colleagues; excessive workloads and deadlines and loss of concentration and productivity. CONCLUSIONS: The individualized consultation intervention was not effective in changing sedentary behavior. Multi-level barriers impede sedentary behavior change in the workplace. Further work is required to fully understand these complex influences on this behavior in a workplace setting to allow the development and implementation of effective interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2017
EventAmerican College of Sports Medicine 64th Annual Meeting: 8th World Congress on Exercise is Medicine® and World Congress on the Basic Science of Exercise and the Brain - Colorado Convention Center, Denver, United States
Duration: 30 May 20173 Jun 2017


ConferenceAmerican College of Sports Medicine 64th Annual Meeting
Abbreviated titleACSM 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • physical activity levels
  • sedentary behavior
  • workplace activity


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