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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Texas A&M: Software Found to be Effective in Increasing the Time Workers Stand and Change Positions

Dr. Mark Benden, of the Texas A&M School of Public Health and Dr. Parag Sharma, a recent doctoral graduate and clinical data scientist at Humana, tested a new computer-based software intervention. The study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, evaluated the use of computer-prompted reminders in workers using a sit-stand desk to determine if the frequency of desk position changed.

Researchers installed software designed to use reminders to change the position of sit-stand desks and monitor workers’ computer use time, and a USB accelerometer sensor, which measured the height of the desk. The first phase monitored workers’ computer use time and the position of the desk lasting three months and provided a baseline of participants’ activity. The second phase lasted two months and used the software to remind the participants to stand for 10 minutes after every 30 minutes of sitting. The software displayed statistics about percentage of time they personally stood and remained seated. This study was the very first to measure digital, objective data about desktop, sit-stand desk usage and it offered potentially noteworthy findings and methods.

Researchers found the software proved effective in getting office workers to stand more often than they did before the software reminders. During the first phase, the participants completed one desk position change per every two working days. During the second phase, they, on average, completed one desk position change every day.

After the second phase, a survey was given with results indicating 51 percent of the workers were influenced and more motivated by observing their co-workers’ habits with the sit-stand desks rather than by the software reminders. The social context for reducing sedentary behavior is an important finding for future studies.

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