Adverse Effects of Prolonged Sitting Behavior on the General Health of Office Workers

J Lifestyle Med. 2017 Jul;7(2):69-75. doi: 10.15280/jlm.2017.7.2.69. Epub 2017 Jul 31.


Background: Excessive sitting behavior is a risk factor for many adverse health outcomes. This study aimed to survey the prevalence of sitting behavior and its adverse effects among Iranian office workers.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 447 Iranian office workers. A two-part questionnaire was used as the data collection tool. The first part surveyed the demographic characteristics and general health of the respondents, while the second part contained the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) to assess symptoms. Statistical analyses were performed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences software using Mann-Whitney U and Chi-square tests and multiple logistic regression analysis.

Results: The respondents spent an average of 6.29 hours of an 8-hour working shift in a sitting position. The results showed that 48.8% of the participants did not feel comfortable with their workstations and 73.6% felt exhausted during the workday. Additionally, 6.3% suffered from hypertension, and 11.2% of them reported hyperlipidemia. The results of the NMQ showed that neck (53.5%), lower back (53.2%) and shoulder (51.6%) symptoms were the most prevalent problem among office workers. Based upon a multiple logistic regression, only sex had a significant association with prolonged sitting behavior (odds ratio = 3.084). Our results indicated that long sitting times were associated with exhaustion during the working day, decreased job satisfaction, hypertension, and musculoskeletal disorder symptoms in the shoulders, lower back, thighs, and knees of office workers.

Conclusion: Sitting behavior had adverse effects on office workers. Active workstations are therefore recommended to improve working conditions.

Keywords: Musculoskeletal diseases; Sedentary lifestyle; Workplace.