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Work. 2015;52(3):589-95. doi: 10.3233/WOR-152182.

High prevalence of sedentary risk factors amongst university employees and potential health benefits of campus workplace exercise intervention.



Sedentariness and physical inactivity are often reported within white-collar workers, including university campus employees. However, the prevalence of the associated sedentary risk factors and risk reduction intervention strategies within a university campus workplace are less known.


This study investigates whether the prevalence of sedentary risk factors within university campus employees could be reduced with a campus based exercise intervention.


56 UK university employees (age = 50.7 ± 10.2, stature = 1.68.8 ± 8.6, body mass = 73.9 ± 15.1) were tested for body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and maximal cardiorespiratory capacity (V̇O2max). The prevalence was analyzed across genders and job roles. An exercise intervention followed for the sedentary employees involving walking and running for 25 min twice/week for 10 weeks at an intensity corresponding to individual's ventilatory threshold (VT).


The university workplace demonstrated a prevalence of higher BMI, SBP and DBP than the recommended healthy thresholds, with gender having a significant effect. Males' BMI, SBP and DBP were higher than in females (p <  0.05) and males' V̇O2max was lower than the recommended healthy thresholds. The exercise training intervention significantly improved V̇O2max, VT and VT velocity in both genders (all p <  0.05) with both groups meeting the recommended thresholds following the intervention.


University campus employees have a high prevalence of sedentary risk factors across different genders and job roles. These risks can be reduced by an exercise-based intervention administered within the campus workplace, which should be considered in university workplace policies.


Physical activity; cardiovascular; gender; job

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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