A survey of sitting time among UK employees

Occup Med (Lond). 2014 Oct;64(7):497-502. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqu099. Epub 2014 Aug 18.


Background: Sedentary behaviour is a known risk factor for a wide range of chronic diseases. This major health risk is likely to increase given the increasingly sedentary nature of work.

Aims: To investigate the prevalence of sedentary behaviour in a sample of UK working-aged adults, across a range of employment sectors.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey conducted with organizations throughout the UK in the education, government administration, retail, telecommunications and service industry sectors. The questionnaire examined employee and organizational information, self-reported domain-specific sitting time, sleep and physical activity.

Results: A total of 1141 employees completed the questionnaire, of which 504 completed all aspects of the Domain-Specific Sitting Time Questionnaire for work day sitting. Work time sitting accounted for more than half of the total daily sitting time on a work day (54%). Significantly more time was reported sitting on a work day than time reported sleeping (P < 0.001). Males spent more time sitting at work and using a personal computer at home compared with females. Workers in the telecommunications industry had the highest sitting times. There were significant positive associations between sitting time and body mass index.

Conclusions: There is a pressing need for future workplace health interventions to reduce employee sitting times.

Keywords: Healthy lifestyles; health workplaces; occupational health services; physical activity; sedentary behavior; workplace health promotion..

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Male
  • Motor Activity*
  • Occupations*
  • Posture*
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Self Report
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telecommunications
  • Work*
  • Workplace