Leisure-time physical activity in relation to occupational physical activity among women

Prev Med. 2015 May;74:93-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.03.003. Epub 2015 Mar 12.


Objective: The objective of this study is to examine the association between occupational physical activity and leisure-time physical activity among US women in the Sister Study.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 26,334 women who had been employed in their current job for at least 1 year at baseline (2004-2009). Occupational physical activity was self-reported and leisure-time physical activity was estimated in metabolic equivalent hours per week. Log multinomial regression was used to evaluate associations between occupational (sitting, standing, manually active) and leisure-time (insufficient, moderate, high) activity. Models were adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, education, income, geographic region, and body mass index.

Results: Only 54% of women met or exceeded minimum recommended levels of leisure-time physical activity (moderate 32% and high 22%). Women who reported sitting (prevalence ratio (PR)=0.82, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.74-0.92) or standing (PR=0.84, 95% CI: 0.75-0.94) most of the time at work were less likely to meet the requirements for high leisure-time physical activity than manually active workers. Associations were strongest among women living in the Northeast and the South.

Conclusion: In this nationwide study, low occupational activity was associated with lower leisure-time physical activity. Women who are not active in the workplace may benefit from strategies to promote leisure-time physical activity.

Keywords: Physical activity; Women; Workplace.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Geography
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Metabolic Equivalent / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Report
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data*