Issue addressed: Workplace physical activity programs can motivate inactive target groups to increase daily activity levels, but it is important to determine their reach and impact.
Methods: The Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) is a team-based program promoting pedometer-based self-monitoring to reach 10000 steps per day. Participants (n≤587) from an Australian university were recruited and recorded their daily step counts. Demographic, anthropometric, behavioural, self-reported physical activity and sitting time data were collected at baseline and following the 16-week program.
Results: On average, participants self-estimated 11638 daily steps in Week 1, increasing to measured estimates of 13787 daily steps in Week 16 (P<0.001). At baseline, 92% of survey completers were already meeting the physical activity recommendations, increasing to 98% (P≤0.059) at follow-up. Four month improvements in objectively assessed anthropometric measures showed small, non-significant reductions in weight (-0.12 kg; P≤0.416), body mass index (-0.06 kg/m2; P≤0.314) and waist circumference (-0.43 cm; P≤0.082). Sitting time during work decreased significantly by 21min per day (P<0.001) and participants with initially low levels of sitting time at work were more likely to increase their step counts during the GCC (adjusted odds ratio 1.90, 95% confidence interval 1.03-3.50).
Conclusions: Although this pedometer-based program resulted in increases in physical activity and reductions in occupational sedentary behaviour, most participants were already meeting physical activity recommendations at baseline.
So what?: Workplace interventions need to be better targeted to reach inactive employees to have population-level impacts on chronic disease risk factors.