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Can J Public Health. 2008 Jul-Aug;99(4):311-8.

Desk potatoes: the importance of occupational physical activity on health.

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Physical Health Measures Division, Statistics Canada, Ottawa, ON.



To determine the relationship between occupational physical activity (OPA) and chronic disease after controlling for leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) and other risk factors.


Using cycle 2.1 of the Canadian Community Health Survey, OPA energy expenditure was derived. The association of OPA with any self-reported chronic disease, heart disease or diabetes was determined using logistic regression while controlling for confounders. The analyses of OPA controlled for age, sex, ethnicity, BMI, smoking status, time since immigration, income, education and LTPA.


High OPA was associated with reduced odds of having any chronic disease (OR = 0.89) independent of LTPA status. Similar significant associations were also observed for heart disease (OR = 0.61) and diabetes (OR = 0.72).


High OPA is associated with reduced odds of chronic disease independent of LTPA. Accordingly, it is important that physical activity questionnaires carefully assess OPA in addition to LTPA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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