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Occupational Sitting and Weight Status in a Diverse Sample of Employees in Midwest Metropolitan Cities, 2012–2013
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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
  • Description:

    Few studies have examined the association between occupational sitting and body mass index (BMI). There is a particular lack of evidence among diverse populations. The objective of this study was to quantify the association between self-reported occupational sitting time and BMI by sex and race, independent of levels of occupational and leisure-time physical activity.


    In 2012 and 2013, participants residing in 4 Missouri metropolitan areas were interviewed via telephone. The interview included questions on sociodemographic characteristics and time spent sitting at work. Multinomial logistic regressions were used to examine the association between occupational sitting and BMI between men and women and between black and white women.


    Overall 1,891 participants (66.9% women, 29.5% black) provided complete data. Median daily time spent by both men and women in occupational sitting was 180 minutes (interquartile range, 30 to 360 minutes); most participants were overweight (32.3%) or obese (33.6%). After adjusting for potential confounders, we found that black women in 3 categories of sitting time (31–180 minutes, 181–360 minutes, and >360 minutes) were approximately 2.5 times as likely (P for trend, .02) to be obese as black women who reported sitting for 30 minutes or less, independent of occupational and leisure-time physical activity. This association was not seen among white women. No significant associations were found among men.


    Occupational sitting is associated with an increased likelihood of obesity among black women, independent of occupational and leisure-time physical activity. Areas of future research include evaluating associations among various occupations and industries, assessing the association in prospective cohorts, and exploring the feasibility of worksite interventions that target sitting.

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