A study examining the physical activity of health professionals’ working day suggests health promotion policies are not sufficient in the workplace.
Only 6% of healthcare employees at Galway University Hospital reached the recommended level of 10,000 steps a day, causing researchers to suggest more needs to be done by employers.
“Promoting the concept that short bouts of physical activity can be accrued during working hours rather than considered solely a leisure time activity seems a realistic approach to reducing cardiovascular diseases (CVD),” said Dr Eleanor McIntyre from the Galway University Hospital in Ireland.
The study examined the activity patterns of 83 employees working in six occupational groups at the hospital during a typical working week. Everyone wore a pedometer to record each step taken and energy expenditure was assessed with International Physical Activity Questionnaires (IPAQ).
Analysis of the questionnaires suggested 53% of participants had high activity levels, moderate levels were achieved by 29% of participants, and low levels by 18% of participants. However, when data from the pedometers were compared with the IPAQ results, it was found that only 6% of the study subjects reached the recommended levels of 10,000 during working hours.
Moreover, 30% were described as “sedentary” (achieving less than 5,000 steps per day). Interns and nurses classified as the most active groups in terms of steps per day.