Within the workplace, the relationship between sedentary behaviors and back pain, and the impacts on worker productivity remain unclear. Data from a 2010 employee health assessment survey was utilized to evaluate the impact of sitting time and physical inactivity on back pain and productivity loss in a sample of public administration industry (e.g., services sector) workers. Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs) informed multivariate logistical models within two cross-sectional studies that 1) established a sedentary risk profile for back pain and 2) evaluated the interactive effect of physical inactivity and sitting on back pain and productivity loss. Results from this study suggest that both non-modifiable factors, such as age, gender, education, and job classification, and modifiable factors, such as sedentary behaviors, high BMI and tobacco use, are important when designing health promotion programs to prevent and treat back pain in a working population. Results also suggest that prolonged sitting time has an interactive effect with physical inactivity, and therefore, when assessing risk in an employee population, employers should consider both physical activity and sedentary exposures at work and during leisure to gain a complete understanding of total worker exposures. Results support the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Total Worker Health<sup>TM</sup> strategy by informing the direction of future research aimed at utilizing health risk assessment screening tools for occupational back pain and interventions that extend healthy lives of workers and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. January 2014. Major: Environmental Health. Advisor: Patricia M. McGovern. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 169 pages, appendices A-E.
An evaluation of sitting time and physical inactivity on back pain and productivity loss among services sector workers.
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