Sedentary Behavior in the Workplace: A Potential Occupational Hazard for Radiologists

Curr Probl Diagn Radiol. Jul-Aug 2016;45(4):253-7. doi: 10.1067/j.cpradiol.2015.10.007. Epub 2015 Nov 10.


In this study, we sought to quantify the sedentary worklife of the radiologist, a potential health risk. Radiologists of all training levels at our academic institution were surveyed to estimate the levels of at-work and out-of-work sitting. Fitbit One activity monitors were used to measure the at-work activity levels of radiology, pediatric, and internal medicine (IM) residents. Correlation between awareness and utilization of dynamic (sitting or standing, walking, or biking) picture archiving and communication system (PACS) workstations among radiology residents was assessed. Among surveyed radiologists (n = 89), 78% estimated sitting for at least 6 hours per workday. Estimated workplace sitting accounted for most of the total sitting for 81% of respondents. As measured by activity monitors, radiology residents (n = 27) took fewer steps per day (2683 vs 4602 vs 4967) and per hour (294 vs 419 vs 444) and experienced more sedentary time per hour (40.3 vs 36.2 vs 34.9min/h) than IM (n = 15) and pediatric (n = 9) residents. Activity experienced during reading room-based work and interventional work was compared by studying 4 additional radiology residents during both types of rotations. Reading-room activity was low, whereas activity on interventional rotations surpassed average levels for the pediatric and IM residents in our study. Radiology residents' (n = 28) awareness and utilization of dynamic PACS workstations varied among reading rooms, but were generally low-75% reported never or rarely using them. Resident utilization correlated with awareness of dynamic workstations available at our institution (R(2) = 0.64; P = 0.013). In conclusion, radiology residents in our study led more sedentary worklives compared with residents from other specialties and took minimal advantage of available tools to mitigate this. Potential health risks of inactivity justify individual and departmental efforts to limit workplace inactivity among radiologists.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Surveys / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Radiologists / statistics & numerical data*
  • Radiology
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data*