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Objectively Measured Sedentary Behavior and Physical Activity in Office Employees: Relationships With Presenteeism

Brown, Helen Elizabeth MSc; Ryde, Gemma C. BSc; Gilson, Nicholas D. PhD; Burton, Nicola W. PhD; Brown, Wendy J. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 8 - p 945–953
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31829178bf
Original Articles

Objective: Employee presenteeism is the extent to which health conditions adversely affect at-work productivity. Given the links between health and activity, this study examined associations between objectively measured physical activity, sedentary behavior, and presenteeism.

Methods: Participants were 108 office employees (70% women, mean age 40.7 ± 11.2 years). Activity was measured using ActiGraph GT3X+ accelerometers to determine sedentary (≤150 counts) and light (151 to 1689 counts) activity; presenteeism with the Work Limitations Questionnaire.

Results: Fifty-seven percent of time was spent in sedentary behavior and 38% in light activity. The median Work Limitations Questionnaire Index was 4.38; 6% of participants reported at least moderate impairment. Significant associations were reported for time spent in sedentary behavior before/after work (odds ratio [OR] = 2.58; 95% CI: 1.08 to 6.20) and in light activity, overall (OR = 0.43; 95% CI: 0.19 to 0.97) and during workday lunch hours (OR = 0.34; 95% CI: 0.15 to 0.77), and presenteeism.

Conclusions: Future studies should seek greater variation in employee levels of activity and presenteeism to confirm these relationships.

From the School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Address correspondence to: Helen Elizabeth Brown, MSc, School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine