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Appl Ergon. 2015 Jan;46 Pt A:30-7. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2014.06.004. Epub 2014 Jul 28.

Typing performance and body discomfort among overweight and obese office workers: A pilot study of keyboard modification.

Author information

1
The University of Georgia, College of Public Health, Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, 330 River Road, 315 Ramsey Center, Athens, GA 30602, USA. Electronic address: health@uga.edu.
2
Texas A&M Health Science Center, School of Public Health, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, TAMU 1266, College Station, TX 77843, USA. Electronic address: pickens@sph.tamhsc.edu.
3
The University of Memphis, School of Public Health, Division of Health Systems Management and Policy, Robison Hall 133, Memphis, TN 38152-3530, USA; Texas A&M Health Science Center, School of Public Health, Department of Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences, TAMU 1266, College Station, TX 77843, USA. Electronic address: sahn@memphis.edu.
4
Texas A&M Health Science Center, School of Public Health, Department of Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences, TAMU 1266, College Station, TX 77843, USA. Electronic address: mory@sph.tamhsc.edu.
5
The University of Georgia, College of Public Health, Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, 330 River Road, 303 Ramsey Center, Athens, GA 30602, USA. Electronic address: dmdejoy@uga.edu.
6
Jacobs Engineering, 5995 Rogersdale Rd, Houston, TX 77072, USA. Electronic address: klyoung79@gmail.com.
7
Not Fragile Ergonomics13810 Sutton Park DriveNorth#1120Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA. Electronic address: gmanbishop@yahoo.com.
8
Texas A&M Health Science Center, School of Public Health, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, TAMU 1266, College Station, TX 77843, USA. Electronic address: ergo@tamu.edu.

Abstract

Obesity in the workplace is associated with loss of productivity, high medical care expenses, and increased rates of work-related injuries and illness. Thus, effective, low-cost interventions are needed to accommodate the size of today's obese office worker while alleviating potential physical harm associated with musculoskeletal disorders. Utilizing a sample of 22 overweight and obese office workers, this pilot study assessed the impact of introducing an alternative, more ergonomically-sound keyboard on perceptions about design, acceptability, and usability; self-reported body discomfort; and typing productivity. Data were collected using self-reported questionnaires and objective typing tests administered before and after the intervention. The intervention duration was six weeks. After switching from their standard work keyboard to an alternative keyboard, all participants reported significant decreases in lower back discomfort (t = 2.14, P = 0.044); although obese participants reported significant decreases in both upper (t = 2.46, P = 0.032) and lower (t = 2.39, P = 0.036) back discomfort. No significant changes were observed in overall typing performance scores from baseline to follow-up. Findings suggest that such interventions may be introduced into the workforce with positive gains for workers without reducing short-term worker productivity.

KEYWORDS:

Body discomfort; Keyboard ergonomics; Obesity

PMID:
25082778
DOI:
10.1016/j.apergo.2014.06.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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