2 files

Workplace health beliefs concerning physical activity and sedentary behaviour

journal contribution
posted on 2018-12-26, 00:00 authored by B Sudholz, Jo SalmonJo Salmon, Alexander MussapAlexander Mussap
Background: Sedentary behaviour (SB) in the form of uninterrupted sitting constitutes a risk factor for chronic disease that is independent of the risks associated with insufficient physical activity (PA). However, little is known about employee and manager health beliefs concerning SB and PA. Aims: We assess health beliefs of desk-based workers concerning PA and SB accrued at work versus during leisure. We ask whether recreational PA attenuates the perceived ill-health effects of prolonged occupational SB, and compare attitudes of employees and managers to interventions aimed at reducing/interrupting workplace sitting. Methods: Two hundred and twenty-two desk-based employees and 121 managers located in Melbourne, Australia, rated the healthiness of vignettes describing combinations of uninterrupted sitting, sitting with breaks, light PA and moderate-to-vigorous PA accumulated at work and during leisure time. Participants also responded to open-ended questions concerning the implications of reducing workplace sitting. Results: Mixed-model ANOVA revealed that the presence of leisure-time PA greatly diminished the perceived detrimental effects to health of workplace sitting. Subsequent thematic analysis of qualitative data further revealed that participants' concerns with SB were primarily musculoskeletal and workplace performance rather than chronic health. Conclusions: Employees and their managers do not rate uninterrupted sitting as being unhealthy when it is presented to them in the form of an 'active couch potato' lifestyle (a person who meets minimum PA recommendations but spends much of their work time and non-PA time sitting). We recommend that interventions targeting workplace SB take into account the contextual nature of health beliefs.



Occupational medicine






631 - 634


Oxford University Press


Oxford, Eng.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, The Authors