Adults who accumulate a lot of sedentary time per day are at an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. Prolonged sitting is also associated with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. With the increase in desk-based office work, many office workers spend long hours sitting at the workplace. The aim of this study was to assess occupational sitting time in Malaysian government office workers, and investigate determinants of occupational sitting time and potential strategies to interrupt sitting time. We conducted a mixed-methods study consisting of a survey and focus group discussions (FGDs). A total of 1338 office workers from 24 Malaysian ministries completed the Occupational Sitting and Physical Activity Questionnaire. Twenty-nine office workers who spent at least 7 h per day sitting at work participated in FGDs. We enquired about knowledge, awareness and perceptions related to prolonged sitting time, barriers and facilitators to sitting time at work, and potential intervention strategies. Mean daily sitting time at work was 5.96 h (standard deviation = 1.37 h). FDGs confirmed barriers and facilitators to sitting time in accordance with the social-ecological model for health. Intrapersonal, social and physical environmental factors as well as organizational culture and organizational policy were mentioned to affect occupational sitting time. The results show that Malaysian government office workers spent a significant amount of time sitting at work and we identified multi-level factors influencing sitting time. A smartphone-based intervention to interrupt sitting time at work was suggested and is currently being tested.

Sedentary behavior is associated with adverse health outcomes including non-communicable diseases and mental disorders. With the increase in desk-based office work, many office workers spend long hours sitting at the workplace. Our study assessed occupational sitting time in Malaysian government office workers, and investigated determinants of occupational sitting time and potential strategies to interrupt sitting time. We conducted a survey and focus group discussions (FGDs). A total of 1338 office workers completed the Occupational Sitting and Physical Activity Questionnaire. Twenty-nine office workers who spent at least 7 h per day sitting at work participated in FGDs. We enquired about knowledge, awareness and perceptions related to prolonged sitting time, barriers and facilitators to sitting time at work, and potential intervention strategies. The mean daily sitting time at work was 5.96 h (standard deviation = 1.37 h). FGD participants mentioned that intrapersonal, social and physical environmental factors as well as organizational culture and organizational policy affected occupational sitting time. They suggested a smartphone-based intervention to interrupt sitting time at work.

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