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Physical activity levels of allied health professionals working in a large Australian metropolitan health district – an observational study

Authors Zafiropoulos B, Alison JA, Heard R

Received 2 October 2018

Accepted for publication 26 November 2018

Published 3 January 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 51—62


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Bill Zafiropoulos,1,2 Jennifer A Alison,1,2 Robert Heard3

1Faculty of Health Sciences, Discipline of Physiotherapy, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2141, Australia; 2Allied Health Professorial Unit, Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, NSW 2050, Australia; 3Faculty of Health Sciences, Discipline of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2141, Australia

Purpose: The aim of this observational cross-sectional study was to determine if allied health professionals working in a large metropolitan health district were meeting the minimal physical activity (PA) recommendations and the proportion that occupational PA contributed to the recommended PA levels. A secondary aim was to determine possible relationships between self-report questionnaire measures of PA and PA measured by accelerometry.
Materials and methods: Allied health professionals, working in the Sydney Local Health District (SLHD) in 2016–2017, completed the Active Australia Survey (AAS), Occupational Sitting and Physical Activity Questionnaire (OSPAQ), International Physical Activity Questionnaire Long form (IPAQ-L), and wore the ActiGraph GT1M accelerometer for 7 days consecutively.
Results: Based on accelerometry results, allied health professionals (N=126) spent a mean (SD) of 51 (23) minutes in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA)/day, representing 171% of the total recommended MVPA/day, with work contributing 76% to this recommendation. Participants walked a mean of 10,077 (2,766) steps/day, meeting 100% of the recommended 10,000 steps/day, with work contributing 54% to this recommendation. Sedentary behaviors were predominant throughout the entire day and work day. Compared with the ActiGraph MVPA time measurements, AAS MVPA time showed a fair level of agreement [intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC)=0.44, P<0.01], while OSPAQ and IPAQ-L MVPA time showed no agreement (ICC=0.05, P=0.27; ICC=0.13, P=0.10, respectively).
Conclusion: Allied health professionals working in a large metropolitan health district met the daily PA recommendations based on accelerometry measures but tended to overreport their MVPA on self-report questionnaires.

Keywords: occupational physical activity, sedentary behavior, questionnaires

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