Break in Sedentary Behavior Reduces the Risk of Noncommunicable Diseases and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors among Workers in a Petroleum Company

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 May 9;14(5):501. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14050501.


Although prolonged sitting appears as a novel risk factor related to health outcomes for all ages, its association needs to be replicated in occupational conditions. This study explored the associations between sedentary behavior and four noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) as well as two cardiometabolic risk factors (CMRFs) among workers in a petroleum company, Thailand. All workers were invited to complete the online self-report questionnaire. Sedentary behavior was measured as the amount of time sitting at work, during recreation, and while commuting. Out of 3365 workers contacted, 1133 (34%) participated. Prevalence of NCDs and CMRFs was 36% and was positively associated with sedentary behavior. After adjusting for age, BMI, and exercise, the risk of NCDs and CMRFs for sedentary office work was 40% greater compared with more active field work. Those who took a break without sitting more than twice a day and commuted by walking or cycling had less risk of NCDs and CMRFs. The total duration of sedentary behavior was 10 h/day, and two-thirds of that total was workplace sitting. This was significantly associated with NCDs and CMRFs (p < 0.001). Day-and-night rotating shiftwork was negatively associated with NCDs and CMRFs (p < 0.001). Sedentary behavior should be considered a health risk among workers. Hence, to promote a healthy lifestyle and safe workplace, organizations should encourage standing activities during break and physically active commutes, and have workers avoid prolonged sitting.

Keywords: noncommunicable diseases; physical activity; sedentary behavior; shiftwork; workplace.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Petroleum*
  • Posture
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Self Report
  • Thailand / epidemiology
  • Workplace*


  • Petroleum