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Feasibility of Retrofitting a University Library with Active Workstations to Reduce Sedentary Behavior

      Background

      Libraries are an inherently sedentary environment, but are an understudied setting for sedentary behavior interventions.

      Purpose

      To investigate the feasibility of incorporating portable pedal machines in a university library to reduce sedentary behaviors.

      Methods

      The 11-week intervention targeted students at a university library. Thirteen portable pedal machines were placed in the library. Four forms of prompts (e-mail, library website, advertisement monitors, and poster) encouraging pedal machine use were employed during the first 4 weeks. Pedal machine use was measured via automatic timers on each machine and momentary time sampling. Daily library visits were measured using a gate counter. Individualized data were measured by survey. Data were collected in fall 2012 and analyzed in 2013.

      Results

      Mean (SD) cumulative pedal time per day was 95.5 (66.1) minutes. One or more pedal machines were observed being used 15% of the time (N=589). Pedal machines were used at least once by 7% of students (n=527). Controlled for gate count, no linear change of pedal machine use across days was found (b=−0.1 minutes, p=0.75) and the presence of the prompts did not change daily pedal time (p=0.63). Seven of eight items that assessed attitudes toward the intervention supported intervention feasibility (p<0.05).

      Conclusions

      The unique non-individualized approach of retrofitting a library with pedal machines to reduce sedentary behavior seems feasible, but improvement of its effectiveness is needed. This study could inform future studies aimed at reshaping traditionally sedentary settings to improve public health.
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