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dc.contributor.advisorPeddie, Meredith
dc.contributor.advisorHargreaves, Elaine
dc.contributor.advisorPerry, Tracy
dc.contributor.authorHayr, Kirsty Therese
dc.identifier.citationHayr, K. T. (2019). Perspectives on Integrating Activity Breaks into the Work Day: A Focus Group Study of University of Otago Employees Working in Sedentary Occupations (Thesis, Master of Dietetics). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractBackground: Prolonged sitting increases the risk of cardiometabolic disease. Regularly interrupting prolonged sitting with short bouts of activity has been shown to acutely lower postprandial glucose and lipid concentrations in a laboratory setting. However, more research is needed to find out how we can incorporate this pattern of activity into a workplace environment and what the most effective way would be to do this. Objective: To investigate perspectives on integrating regular activity breaks into the work day of University of Otago employees working in sedentary jobs. Methods: Four focus groups were conducted involving University of Otago employees (n = 20; four males; mean age = 45 years) who self-identified as being employed in sedentary occupations. Participants were required to participate in one 60-minute focus group and share perspectives on incorporating regular activity breaks into the workplace. Questions focused on the barriers and motivators to completing regular activity breaks and the preferred mode of activity break. The audio recordings of the focus groups were transcribed verbatim and thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Results: The results were organised into three categories: barriers, motivators and mode of activity. Each category had several higher order and lower order themes. Four higher order themes explained the barriers for performing regular activity breaks: 1) Workplace culture; 2) Perceived reduction in work productivity; 3) Work tasks and environment; and 4) Personal challenges. Four higher order themes considered to be influential motivators for completing regular activity breaks were: 1) Workplace culture; 2) Prompts; 3) External rewards and support; and 4) Knowing and experiencing the benefits of regular activity breaks. Three higher order themes described the mode of activity breaks participants would prefer to complete: 1) Specific types of activity; 2) Activities incorporated into work routine; and 3) External support. Conclusion: To date no study has investigated the effects of performing regular activity breaks into the workplace and there is limited research exploring the perspectives of employees. The results of this study give insight to valuable information that will inform the development of future activity break interventions. Multiple strategies are needed in the workplace which target individual and environmental influences. Buy in and support from management is needed to help change workplace behaviours. Employers need to show employees that they support regular activity breaks (RAB) in the workplace and ensure there is a comfortable environment to complete them. This could be done by encouraging workplace challenges, sending out regular reminder emails encouraging RAB and the employer being a role model. Additionally, individuals should be provided information on the benefits of completing RAB and suggestions on types of activity breaks to incorporate into their workday.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.titlePerspectives on Integrating Activity Breaks into the Work Day: A Focus Group Study of University of Otago Employees Working in Sedentary Occupations
dc.language.rfc3066en Nutrition of Dietetics of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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