Research Study Abstract

Patterns and perceptions of physical activity and sedentary time in male transport drivers working in regional Australia

  • Published on June 24, 2014

Objective: To objectively measure physical activity (PA) patterns and sedentary time, and explore perceptions of workplace PA opportunities in regional male transport workers.

Methods: A multi-method study involving 28 drivers (52.4±9.69years) working at a bus company in South-East Queensland, Australia. PA was measured using accelerometers (n=23) to determine the proportion of time spent in sedentary (<150 cpm), light (151–2,689 cpm) and moderate+ (≥2,690 cpm) intensity categories. Paired sample t-tests were used to evaluate differences between categories on a workday/off-workday (n=16), and during work/non-work time (n=15). Interviews were conducted with 28 drivers and six managers to explore perceptions and ideas relating to workplace PA opportunities.

Results: Sedentary time was significantly higher on off-work (64% of wear time) than work (52%) days (p<0.05), while the opposite was the case for light intensity time (off-workday=33%; workday=44%; p<0.05). On workdays, sedentary time was significantly lower when employees were working (44%) than when not working (60%; p<0.05). No significant differences were found for time spent in moderate+ PA. Driver perceptions indicated that PA opportunities (walking club and corporate gym membership) were being adopted by some drivers. However, at this depot, perceived health issues and organisational barriers (shift work and irregular driving routines), tended to preclude some drivers from engaging with these opportunities.

Conclusions: Findings contest the notion that a sedentary occupation such as driving necessitates an inactive work environment.

Implications: This research informs ongoing intervention efforts to target inactive drivers who are struggling to take advantage of existing workplace-related PA opportunities.