A systematic review and meta-analysis of workplace intervention strategies to reduce sedentary time in white-collar workers

Obes Rev. 2016 May;17(5):467-81. doi: 10.1111/obr.12388. Epub 2016 Mar 15.


Prolonged sedentary behaviour has been associated with various detrimental health risks. Workplace sitting is particularly important, providing it occupies majority of total daily sedentary behaviour among desk-based employees. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to examine the effectiveness of workplace interventions overall, and according to different intervention strategies (educational/behavioural, environmental and multi-component interventions) for reducing sitting among white-collar working adults. Articles published through December 2015 were identified in five online databases and manual searches. Twenty-six controlled intervention studies published between 2003 and 2015 of 4568 working adults were included. All 26 studies were presented qualitatively, and 21 studies with a control group without any intervention were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled intervention effect showed a significant workplace sitting reduction of -39.6 min/8-h workday (95% confidence interval [CI]: -51.7, -27.5), favouring the intervention group. Multi-component interventions reported the greatest workplace sitting reduction (-88.8 min/8-h workday; 95% CI: -132.7, -44.9), followed by environmental (-72.8 min/8-h workday; 95% CI: -104.9, -40.6) and educational/behavioural strategies -15.5 min/8-h workday (95% CI:-22.9,-8.2). Our study found consistent evidence for intervention effectiveness in reducing workplace sitting, particularly for multi-component and environmental strategies. Methodologically rigorous studies using standardized and objectively determined outcomes are warranted. © 2016 World Obesity.

Keywords: Intervention studies; physical activity; sedentary behaviour; workplace.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior
  • Humans
  • Occupational Health
  • Time Factors
  • Workplace*