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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 128376, 8 pages
Research Article

A Pilot Study of Increasing Nonpurposeful Movement Breaks at Work as a Means of Reducing Prolonged Sitting

University of Tasmania, Faculty of Education, Launceston, TAS 7248, Australia

Received 5 November 2012; Revised 8 March 2013; Accepted 13 March 2013

Academic Editor: Li Ming Wen

Copyright © 2013 Dean Cooley and Scott Pedersen. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is a plethora of workplace physical activity interventions designed to increase purposeful movement, yet few are designed to alleviate prolonged occupational sitting time. A pilot study was conducted to test the feasibility of a workplace e-health intervention based on a passive approach to increase nonpurposeful movement as a means of reducing sitting time. The study was trialled in a professional workplace with forty-six participants (33 females and 13 males) for a period of twenty-six weeks. Participants in the first thirteen weeks received a passive prompt every 45 minutes on their computer screen reminding them to stand and engage in nonpurposeful activity throughout their workday. After thirteen weeks, the prompt was disabled, and participants were then free to voluntary engage the software. Results demonstrated that when employees were exposed to a passive prompt, as opposed to an active prompt, they were five times more likely to fully adhere to completing a movement break every hour of the workday. Based on this pilot study, we suggest that the notion that people are willing to participate in a coercive workplace e-health intervention is promising, and there is a need for further investigation.