10 Mar 2016
Bus drivers’ health at risk due to sedentary behaviour, Loughborough research reveals
Bus drivers are typically sitting for more than 12 hours a day due to the demands of the job – three hours longer than office workers.
Led by researchers at Loughborough University as part of the Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit (BRU), the pilot study into bus drivers’ sedentary behaviour (prolonged sitting) during and outside working hours is the first of its kind to directly measure periods of inactivity in a sample of drivers using an activPAL3™ accelerometer.
A total of 28 volunteer bus drivers provided valid data as part of the study on at least three workdays and one non-workday. These results were included in the analyses and showed that the drivers were sedentary for more than 12 hours a day on workdays, dropping to just under nine hours a day on non-workdays. This meant that the drivers’ daily sitting time on workdays was up to three hours greater than that seen in office workers using the same device.
Meanwhile, 74% of bus drivers who took part in the study were defined as being overweight or obese, and at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Participants were also found to have accumulated higher volumes of sitting time during non-workdays (62%) than seen in other occupations, which could be due to a knock-on effect of time spent sitting during the working day.
PhD student Veronica Varela Mato, from Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, part of the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine East Midlands, said the study’s findings indicated that urgent interventions are needed to boost the health of bus drivers who are considered ‘at risk’ as a direct result of their jobs.
- A collaboration between Loughborough University, University Hospitals of Leicester and the University of Leicester.
- The lightweight device was worn by drivers on the front of the thigh to directly measure sedentary and non-sedentary behaviours over a seven-day period. Previous studies have shown it to be a valid measure of time spent sitting, standing and walking in adults (Grant et al., 2006; Kozey-Keadle et al., 2011).
- Undertaken at a local bus company within the East Midlands, UK.
- Office workers’ daily sitting time on workdays was found to be nine to 10 hours a day (Smith et al., 2015).