Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Biomedical Engineering
Kailyn Cage - University of Maryland, College Park
Sedentary behavior, during work and leisure time, has become prevalent over the last thirty years. Morbidity, cardiovascular disease, and musculoskeletal discomfort have been linked to prolonged sedentary behavior, independent additional physical activity. Emergency dispatchers commonly work 8-12 hour shifts. Most of that time they are seated at a computer workstation with multiple screens, for the duration of their shift, excluding breaks. This prolonged sedentary behavior, along with the stressful nature of their work, puts them at risk for a number of adverse health outcomes.
This study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of two interventions, a mini-exercise cycle and a standing mat with foot rest, designed to introduce breaks from sedentary behavior that would not disrupt work productivity.
Eighteen experienced emergency dispatchers participated in the study. Subjects’ activity patterns during work were measured via accelerometry during one baseline week and one intervention week. There was a significant decrease (p=0.0116) in the percentage of time sitting between baseline and intervention weeks. A significant decrease in the number of uninterrupted 20-minute intervals spent sitting between baseline and intervention weeks was measured (p=0.0061). Subjects increased the percentage of time standing during week 2 compared with week 1 (p=0.0387); the increase in standing was comparable to the percentage of time cycling in week 2 (p=0.2402).
The interventions had a significant impact on reducing prolonged sedentary behavior and percentage of time sitting in general, which demonstrates the potential effectiveness of the interventions for this type of work.ERN_Exploring New Work Options for Emergency .docx
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Institute of Health
Faculty Advisor: Carolyn Sommerich, firstname.lastname@example.org