Energy expenditure in office workers with identified health risks


  • Y Coopoo
  • D Constantinou
  • AD Rothberg



Objective. To measure the daily energy expenditure in employees previously identified as having ≥2 risk factors for chronic disease, and to identify potential risk-reducing interventions for implementation within or outside the workplace. Design. A total of 122 employees with ≥2 risk factors for chronic disease identified in an in-house screening programme were invited to participate in a 6-month health management programme. Physical assessments included anthropometric measurements, blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol estimations, and bicycle ergometry. Participants were invited to wear a ‘metabolic armband' (Body Media SenseWear Pro Armband®) for 6 days. Metabolic measures included active and total energy expenditure (AEE, TEE), and daily MET levels (metabolic equivalents expressed as kcal/kg/hour). Differences were explored between genders, and relationships sought between energy expenditure, lifestyle and anthropometric data. Setting. A corporate working environment. All measures and assessments were carried out in the in-house fitness facility. Interventions. The health management programme involved physical assessments and personalised weight and activity management plans. Main outcome measures. TEE per day, duration and quantification of physical activity, METS, AEE, number of steps per day and body position recording. Relationships were explored between the latter and anthropometric measures such as body mass index (BMI) and percentage body fat. Result. Altogether 53 (43%) of the eligible subjects volunteered for the 6-month programme and 49 enrolled for the metabolic armband study. The males were more active than the females, but both had BMI and body fat estimates that categorised them as overweight to obese. METS and AEE were positively correlated with duration of exercise rather than intensity, and negatively correlated with BMI. In a stepwise regression analysis for the total group 77% of the variance in MET levels was accounted for by per cent body fat and steps per day. Multivariate analysis by gender (with per cent body fat as the dependent variable) suggested that males would have to increase the duration of vigorous exercise in order to reduce body fat, while females would benefit from sitting less, sleeping more, and increasing the duration of moderate exercise. Conclusion and clinical relevance. In a self-selected sample involving motivated individuals, the SenseWear® armband provided information that would be useful in directing further research in women, focusing on sleeping pattern and moderately increasing activity levels.

South African Journal of Sports Medicine Vol. 20 (2) 2008: pp. 40-43


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How to Cite

Coopoo, Y., Constantinou, D., & Rothberg, A. (2017). Energy expenditure in office workers with identified health risks. South African Journal of Sports Medicine, 20(2), 40–43.