Occupational Sitting and Physical Activity Among University Employees

Charles J Fountaine, Meredith Piacentini, Gary A Liguori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prevalence of overweight and obese in the U.S. has been thoroughly documented. With the advent of inactivity physiology research and the subsequent interest in sedentary behavior, the work environment has come under closer scrutiny as a potential opportunity to reverse inactivity. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the sitting and physical activity (PA) habits among different classifications of university employees. University employees (n=625) completed an online survey based on the Occupational Sitting and Physical Activity Questionnaire (OSPAQ). Participants were instructed to describe time spent sitting, standing, walking, and in heavy physical labor during the last seven days, along with the number of breaks from sitting taken per hour. To establish habitual patterns of PA outside of work, employees recalled their participation in structured PA in the past seven days. Prior to data analysis, employees were categorized as Administration, Faculty, Staff, or Facilities Management. Statistically significant differences were found among employee classifications for min sit/d, p<.001; min stand/d, p<.001; min walk/d, p<.001; and min heavy labor/d, p<.001. No significant differences were found for breaks/h from sitting, p=.259 or participation in structured PA, p=. 33. With the exception of facilities management workers, university employees spent 75% of their workday seated. In conjunction with low levels of leisure time PA, university employees appear to be prime candidates for workplace interventions to reduce physical inactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-301
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Exercise Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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