An office-place stepping device to promote workplace physical activity

Date: 
12-01-2007

OBJECTIVE:
It was proposed that an office-place stepping device is associated with significant and substantial increases in energy expenditure compared to sitting energy expenditure. The objective was to assess the effect of using an office-place stepping device on the energy expenditure of lean and obese office workers.
METHODS:
The office-place stepping device is an inexpensive, near-silent, low-impact device that can be housed under a standard desk and plugged into an office PC for self-monitoring. Energy expenditure was measured in lean and obese subjects using the stepping device and during rest, sitting and walking. 19 subjects (27+/-9 years, 85+/-23 kg): 9 lean (BMI<25 kg/m2) and 10 obese (BMI>29 kg/m2) attended the experimental office facility. Energy expenditure was measured at rest, while seated in an office chair, standing, walking on a treadmill and while using the office-place stepping device.
RESULTS:
The office-place stepping device was associated with an increase in energy expenditure above sitting in an office chair by 289+/-102 kcal/hour (p<0.001). The increase in energy expenditure was greater for obese (335+/-99 kcal/hour) than for lean subjects (235+/-80 kcal/hour; p = 0.03). The increments in energy expenditure were similar to exercise-style walking.
CONCLUSION:
The office-place stepping device could be an approach for office workers to increase their energy expenditure. If the stepping device was used to replace sitting by 2 hours per day and if other components of energy balance were constant, weight loss of 20 kg/year could occur.

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Authors: 
McAlpine DA, Manohar CU, McCrady SK, Hensrud D, Levine JA