Workplace sitting is associated with self-reported general health and back/neck pain: a cross-sectional analysis in 44,978 employees

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A study titled “Workplace sitting is associated with self-reported general health and back/neck pain: a cross-sectional analysis in 44,978 employees” has recently been published in the BMC Public Health. The full article is available here (open access). The summary of the paper and citation details are re-posted below.

Abstract

Background
Total sitting time is associated with a higher risk for cardio metabolic disease and mortality, while breaks in prolonged sitting attenuate these effects. However, less is known about associations of different specific domains and breaks of sitting on general health, back/neck pain and if physical activity could influence these associations. The aim was to investigate how workplace sitting and frequency of breaking up workplace sitting is associated with self-reported general health and self-reported back/neck pain.

Methods
44,978 participants (42% women) from the Swedish working population, who participated in a nationwide occupational health service screening 2014–2019, were included in this cross-sectional study. Self-reported sitting duration and frequency of breaks from sitting at work, general health, back/neck pain, exercise, leisure time sitting, diet, smoking, stress and body mass index were assessed. Occupation was classified as requiring higher education qualifications or not. Logistic regression modelling was used to assess the association between workplace sitting/frequency of breaks in workplace sitting and poor general health and back/neck pain, respectively.

Results
Compared to sitting all the time at work, sitting ≤75% of the time showed significantly lower risks for poor general health (OR range 0.50–0.65), and sitting between 25 and 75% of the time showed significantly lower risks (OR 0.82–0.87) for often reported back/neck pain. For participants reporting sitting half of their working time or more, breaking up workplace sitting occasionally or more often showed significantly lower OR than seldom breaking up workplace sitting; OR ranged 0.40–0.50 for poor health and 0.74–0.81 for back/neck pain.

Conclusions
Sitting almost all the time at work and not taking breaks is associated with an increased risk for self-reported poor general health and back/neck pain. People sitting almost all their time at work are recommended to take breaks from prolonged sitting, exercise regularly and decrease their leisure time sitting to reduce the risk for poor health.

Citation

Kallings, L.V., Blom, V., Ekblom, B. et al. Workplace sitting is associated with self-reported general health and back/neck pain: a cross-sectional analysis in 44,978 employees. BMC Public Health 21, 875 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-10893-8

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