Standing up against office sitting: A study protocol

Philippe Gradidge, Merling Phaswana, Katrien Wijndaele, Nigel Crowther, Catherine Draper
South African Journal of Physiotherapy 2020, 76 (1): 1415

Background: Sedentary behaviour is associated with cardiometabolic diseases amongst office-bound workers, mostly through extended sitting and engaging in low-energy-demanding activities during work hours. The aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness of standing desks and healthy messages on cardiovascular parameters in a cohort of office-based workers and to explore the perceptions of these workers about the suitability of this intervention to lower occupation-related sedentariness.

Methods/design: The protocol will use a mixed-methods study design. Phase 1 of this study is a 12-month, single blinded, randomised controlled trial, which will include baseline, 3-month, 6-month and 12-month post-intervention assessments of plausible cardiometabolic risk biomarkers in office-bound workers at a South African credit and information management company. These biomarkers include anthropometry, sedentary behaviour and physical activity, sleep duration, blood pressure, glucose, glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), lipid profile and cardiorespiratory fitness. Participants will be randomised into an intervention or control group. The intervention group will be provided with an adjustable sit-stand desk and receive weekly health-promoting messages for the intervention period. Phase 2 will use focus group discussions conducted post-intervention to explore the study participants' perceptions of the effectiveness of the intervention. Cardiometabolic risk biomarkers and changes in these variables will be compared between the intervention group and the control group at the four time points using descriptive and inferential statistics.

Discussion: Regression analysis will be undertaken to determine the association of cardiometabolic risk biomarkers with cardiometabolic diseases. A thematic content analysis approach will be used to explore emerging themes from focus group discussions.

Protocol identification: Pan African Clinical Trial Registry, PACTR201911656014962.

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