How to measure sedentary behavior at work?

Gil Boudet, Pierre Chausse, David Thivel, Sylvie Rousset, Martial Mermillod, Julien S. Baker, Lenise M. Parreira, Yolande Esquirol, Martine Duclos, Frederic Dutheil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Prolonged sedentary behavior (SB) is associated with increased risk for chronic conditions. A growing number of the workforce is employed in office setting with high occupational exposure to SB. There is a new focus in assessing, understanding and reducing SB in the workplace. There are many subjective (questionnaires) and objective methods (monitoring with wearable devices) available to determine SB. Therefore, we aimed to provide a global understanding on methods currently used for SB assessment at work.

We carried out a systematic review on methods to measure SB at work. Pubmed, Cochrane, Embase, and Web of Science were searched for peer-reviewed English-language articles published between 1st January 2000 and 17th March 2019.

We included 154 articles: 89 were cross-sectional and 65 were longitudinal studies, for a total of 474,091 participants. SB was assessed by self-reported questionnaires in 91 studies, by wearables devices in also 91 studies, and simultaneously by a questionnaire and wearables devices in 30 studies. Among the 91 studies using wearable devices, 73 studies used only one device, 15 studies used several devices, and three studies used complex physiological systems. Studies exploring SB on a large sample used significantly more only questionnaires and/or one wearable device.

Available questionnaires are the most accessible method for studies on large population with a limited budget. For smaller groups, SB at work can be objectively measured with wearable devices (accelerometers, heart-rate monitors, pressure meters, goniometers, electromyography meters, gas-meters) and the results can be associated and compared with a subjective measure (questionnaire). The number of devices worn can increase the accuracy but make the analysis more complex and time consuming.
Original languageEnglish
Article number167
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2019


  • Occupational health
  • Questionnaires
  • Recommendations
  • Sedentary behavior measurement
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Wearable devices
  • Work
  • Workplace


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