Feasibility of Using Pedometer-Driven Walking to Promote Physical Activity, and Improve Health-Related Quality of Life Among Meat Processing Workers.
In New Zealand, meat processing populations face many health problems as a result of the nature of work in meat processing industries. Workplaces are a sedentary setting for many workers, which can increase the risk of chronic disease and public health issue. Current evidence supports the use of pedometers as effective motivational tools to promote physical activity and improve health-related quality of life in the general population. To address these issues, the aim of this study is to examine whether a pedometer-driven walking programme can improve health-related quality of life, and increase ambulatory activity in a population of meat processing workers when compared to a control group receiving educational material alone. A narrative literature review was conducted to define the current knowledge around the epidemiology of injury(musculoskeletal disorders) in the meat processing industry; the benefits of physical activity with regards to chronic diseases and musculoskeletal diseases; as well as the use of pedometers as monitors and motivational tools for increasing physical activity. The findings from the literature review reported a high prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions in the meat processing industry with frequent causes in disability. The benefits of physical activity for management of different chronic conditions are also well documented. A systematic review of using a pedometer-based walking intervention in patients with musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) was conducted. A comprehensive search identified seven randomised controlled trials (RCTs) which examined the effectiveness of pedometers to increase physical activity levels and improve physical function and pain in patients with MSD in the short term. The key findings include a positive change in level of physical activity (step counts), providing strong evidence (level 1) for the effectiveness of pedometer-based walking interventions in increasing physical activity levels for patients with MSDs. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) study in meat processing industry was conducted. A convenience sample of meat workers (n=58; mean age 41 years) participated in the RCT study. Participants were randomly allocated into two groups. Intervention participants (n=29) self-monitored physical activity using a pedometer, took part in goal setting, and received a step calendar, a brief intervention, regular text and email messages, and educational material. Control participants (n=29) received educational material only. The primary outcomes of ambulatory activity, health-related quality of life, and functional capacity, were evaluated at baseline, immediately following the 12-week intervention and then at three months post-intervention. Following implementation of the 12-week pedometer-based intervention, the findings show a high level of adherence (91%) to the pedometer intervention programme. There was a significant difference in step-count between the groups after the 12-week intervention (mean group difference (MGD) = 1723; 95% CI, 1188 to 2258, p<0.005, effect size (ES) = 1.9). In addition, the total metabolic equivalent (T.MET) for self-reported International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ-SF) showed a statistically significant between-group difference after the 12-week intervention (p<0.005, MGD=484, 95% CI, 362 to 606, ES=1.1). Further, results showed non-significant between-group differences in physical component (PCS) and mental component (MCS) scores (PCS: p=0.44; MGD=0.99, 95% CI, -1.6 to 3.6; ES=0.14, and MCS: p=0.90, MGD = 0.15; 95% CI, -2.3 to 2.6, ES=0.022) after the 12 week intervention. Conclusions: This research provides important information for the design of a fully powered RCT in the future: results demonstrated that a pedometer-driven walking intervention is feasible and effective in increasing step count within the workplace setting (meat processing populations) over the short term. A pedometer-based intervention significantly increased physical activity levels (step count) compared to the control group. The meat worker population were accepting to this style of intervention and were compliant with the prescribed programmes of additional physical activity.
Advisor: Baxter, David; Tumilty, Steve
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: School of Physiotherapy
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: physical activity; pedometers; walking intervention; quality of life; step count; meat processing; musculoskeletal disorders
Research Type: Thesis