Identifying and describing segments of office workers by activity patterns

Michael A. Close (Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)
Leslie A. Lytle (Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)
Anthony J. Viera (Department of Family Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)
Ding-Geng Chen (Department of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)
Laura A. Linnan (Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)
Carmina G. Valle (Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Publication date: 5 February 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and characterize patterns of physical activity among office workers employed in largely sedentary occupations at a major health insurer located in the Southeastern USA.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used latent class analysis to identify segments of office workers (n=239) based on their self-reported activities of daily living and exercise behaviors. The authors examined the association of demographic characteristics with segment membership, and differences in accelerometer-measured weekly minutes of light and moderate-vigorous physical activity across segments.

Findings

The authors identified two segments and labeled them “exerciser” and “non-exerciser.” Being female was associated with lower odds of membership in the “exerciser” segment (OR=0.18; 95% CI=0.06, 0.52), while those with at least a bachelor’s degree were more likely to be in the “exerciser” segment (OR=2.12; 95% CI=1.02, 4.40). Mean minutes of moderate-vigorous physical activity per week were greater for the “exerciser” segment than the “non-exerciser” segment.

Practical implications

Based on this sample, the authors found that office workers in sedentary occupations were roughly equally divided and distinguished by their engagement in exercise-type behaviors. The findings underscore the need for innovative workplace programming that enhances activity opportunities particularly for those that are not likely to exercise.

Originality/value

A scarcity of research on activity patterns among office workers inhibits development of targeted worksite activity programming. The present research reveals two segments of workers with regard to their activity patterns and suggests ways for worksites to meet their unique needs.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research reported in this publication was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award No. R01CA184473. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Citation

Close, M., Lytle, L., Viera, A., Chen, D., Linnan, L. and Valle, C. (2018), "Identifying and describing segments of office workers by activity patterns", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 16-30. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM-07-2017-0053

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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