Sedentary Time and Physical Activity Across Occupational Classifications

Am J Health Promot. 2020 Mar;34(3):247-256. doi: 10.1177/0890117119885518. Epub 2019 Nov 14.


Purpose: To examine differences in activity patterns across employment and occupational classifications.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting: A 2005-2006 Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.

Sample: Participants with valid accelerometry data (n = 2068).

Measures: Uniaxial accelerometry data (ActiGraph 7164), accumulated during waking hours, were summarized as mean activity counts (counts/min) and time spent (min/d) in long-bout sedentary (≥30 minutes, SED≥30), short-bout sedentary (<30 minutes, SED<30), light physical activity (LPA), short-bout moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (<10 minutes, MVPA<10), and long-bout MVPA (≥10 minutes, MVPA≥10) using Freedson cut-points. Employment status was self-reported as full time, part time, unemployed, keeping house, or raising children. Self-reported job duties were categorized into 23 major groups using the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification.

Analysis: Omnibus differences were analyzed using adjusted analysis of covariance and repeated after stratification by race (black/white) and sex (female/male).

Results: SED≥30, SED<30, LPA, and MVPA<10 differed significantly by employment and occupational categories (P ≤ .05), while MVPA≥10 did not (P ≥ .50). SED≥30, SED<30, and LPA differed by occupational classification in men, women, blacks, and whites (P < .05). Mean activity counts, MVPA<10, and MVPA≥10 were significantly different across occupational classifications in whites (P ≤ .05), but not in blacks (P > .05). Significant differences in mean activity counts and MVPA<10 across occupational classifications were found in males (P ≤ .001), but not in females (P > .05).

Conclusion: Time within activity intensity categories differs across employment and occupational classifications and by race and sex.

Keywords: activity pattern; employment; occupation; occupational activity; sedentary behavior; workplace health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Adult
  • Black or African American
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Sex Factors
  • White People