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A Cluster RCT to Reduce Workers’ Sitting Time: Impact on Cardiometabolic Biomarkers


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: October 2017 - Volume 49 - Issue 10 - p 2032–2039
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001328

Purpose To evaluate the initial and long-term impacts on cardiometabolic health indicators of the Stand Up Victoria intervention—a 12-month, multicomponent workplace-delivered intervention that successfully reduced overall sitting time, primarily by increasing standing time.

Methods Office worksites (≥1 km apart) from a single organization were cluster randomized to intervention (n = 7) or control (n = 7). Participants were 136 intervention and 95 control desk-based workers (5–39 per worksite; 68% women; mean ± SD age = 45.6 ± 9.4 yr). Outcomes, assessed at baseline (0 months), 3, and 12 months, were 14 individual biomarkers of body composition, blood pressure, glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism, and a composite overall cardiometabolic risk score. Intervention effects were assessed by linear mixed models, accounting for repeated measures and clustering, baseline values, and potential confounders. Missing data were multiply imputed. Significance was set at P < 0.05, two-tailed.

Results No significant intervention effects were observed at 3 months. Significant effects, favoring intervention, were observed at 12 months for fasting glucose (−0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], −0.65 to −0.03; P = 0.028 mmol·L−1) and the overall cardiometabolic risk score (−0.11, 95% CI, −0.29 to −0.00; P = 0.046). Other intervention effects were typically weakly in favor of the intervention group, but were nonsignificant and estimated with wide CI.

Conclusions In “healthy” workers (not selected as having any specific health condition), a workplace intervention showed a small benefit for improving biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk, but only with 12 months of intervention and not for all biomarkers. Long-term facilitation of movement and standing at work may be a useful approach to reducing cardiovascular disease risk in the working population. The potential benefits for workers at high risk for cardiovascular disease (e.g., with diabetes) may be even greater and merit investigation.

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1The University of Queensland, School of Public Health, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA; 2Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA; 3School of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Perth, AUSTRALIA; 4Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA; 5School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA; 6School of Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA; 7Centre for Population Health Research, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia, AUSTRALIA; and 8Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Address for correspondence: Genevieve N. Healy, Ph.D., The University of Queensland, School of Public Health, Herston Road, Herston, QLD, 4006, Australia; E-mail:

Submitted for publication January 2017.

Accepted for publication May 2017.

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© 2017 American College of Sports Medicine