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Point-of-Choice Prompts to Reduce Sitting Time at Work

A Randomized Trial

      Background

      Prolonged sitting is prevalent in the workplace and is associated with adverse health markers.

      Purpose

      Investigate the effects of point-of-choice (PoC) prompting software, on the computer used at work (PC), to reduce long uninterrupted sedentary periods and total sedentary time at work.

      Design

      Assessor-blinded, parallel group, active-controlled randomized trial.

      Setting/participants

      A convenience sample of office workers from Glasgow, United Kingdom. Data were collected April to June 2010, and analyzed October 2010 to June 2011.

      Intervention

      The education group (n=14) received a brief education session on the importance of reducing long sitting periods at work. The PoC group (n=14) received the same education along with prompting software on their PC for 5 workdays, which reminded them to stand up every 30 minutes.

      Main outcome measures

      Sitting time was measured objectively using the activPAL™ activity monitor for 5 workdays at baseline and 5 workdays during the intervention. The number and time spent sitting in events >30 minutes' duration were the main outcome measures.

      Results

      At baseline, participants spent 5.7±1.0 hours/day (76%±9%) of their time at work sitting. Of that time, 3.3±1.3 hours/day was spent sitting in 3.7±1.4 events >30 minutes. There was a significant difference between the groups in the change (intervention to baseline) of both the number (ANCOVA; −6.8%, p=0.014) and duration (−15.5%, p=0.007) of sitting events >30 minutes. During the intervention, compared with baseline, the PoC group reduced the number (paired t-test; −0.11 events/hour, p=0.045) and duration (−12.2%, p=0.035) of sitting events >30 minutes. However, there was no significant difference in total sitting time between groups (−4.4%, p=0.084).

      Conclusions

      Point-of-choice prompting software on work computers recommending taking a break from sitting plus education is superior to education alone in reducing long uninterrupted sedentary periods at work.

      Trial registration

      This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01628861.
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