Moving More in the Workplace
Healthier Workforce Bulletin

Moving More in the Workplace
The American Medical Association is encouraging employers to provide alternatives to sitting to help create a healthier workforce. In June 2013, the AMA adopted a policy recognizing the potential risks associated with prolonged sitting, stating it can cause health problems, particularly in work settings where employees are sitting most of the day, every day. Sitting in poor postures for long periods of time with little movement impacts one’s health and reduces productivity.  Whether standing, walking, increasing stair use, taking frequent breaks, or taking time to exercise; workplaces offering employee’s options for movement foster greater concentration and engagement, refresh energy levels and focus, boost productivity and ultimately improve overall health, wellness and safety.

For the Employer
Employers should be looking at ways they can provide an environment and culture with options to stand and move more throughout the workday. Active employees reduce levels of absenteeism, injuries, disability compensation, health care costs and life insurance costs.  In as little as one hour a day spent standing at work, employees can burn extra calories, re-energize, are more focused, and more productive.  Walking at work also has its benefits and can wake up a worker’s metabolism and have a positive impact on their overall health.  Frequent breaks may also help lower risk related to waist circumference, BMI and triglyceride levels and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state physical activity as one of the most effective disease prevention strategies.  Click here to learn ideas for moving more during the workday and resources to help support alternatives to sitting.

Model Employer Encourages Movement during the Workday
Midwest Metal Products, a small manufacturing company from Cedar Rapids, IA, of approximately 120 employees, has incorporated workplace physical activity as a long-term strategy and made movement part of their culture. Daily walks are taken around the parking lot at 1:30pm. In the winter, they have marked a walking path inside the building. The 5-minute walking break helps employees relieve tension and become more alert for the rest of their shift. They also have a policy accommodating people to sit or stand and encourage employees to move around to stretch their muscles and relieve tension. An ergonomics and stretching program has also been introduced and... Read More.

Featured Resources Calculate Sitting Time & Difference Standing Makes
Calorie Burn Calculator: Calculate the difference in calorie burn standing makes during the workday with this free tool by
Sitting-Time Calculator: Calculate how much you sit each day with this free tool by

For the Researcher & Practitioner
Findings from a systematic review by Ryde et al. highlight the need for researchers and practitioners to improve the quality of recruitment reporting in workplace physical activity programs.  Suggested reasons for the limited effectiveness of workplace physical activity interventions have included low rates of participating employees.  Characteristics of studies with high rates of employee recruitment are described to inform future research and practice. They include targeting small groups of employees, incorporating physical activity as a long-term strategy, facilitating employee involvement and providing opportunities during paid time.
Source: Ryde, G.C. et al. Recruitment rates in workplace physical activity interventions: Characteristics for success. American Journal of Health Promotion, May/June 2013, 27:5. View abstract here.

Related Supporting Literature
Patel, A. V. et al. Leisure time spent sitting in relation to total mortality in a prospective cohort of US adults.” American Journal of Epidemiology. First published online July 22, 2010. Access article here.

Pronk, N.P., Katz, A.S., Lowry, M., & Payfer, J.R. (2011). Reducing occupational sitting time and improving worker health: The take-a-stand project, 2011. Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice and Policy, 2012; 9: 110323. Access article here.

Swenson, T. & Siegel, M. Increasing stair use in an office worksite through an interactive environmental intervention. American Journal of Health Promotion, May/June 2013: 27:5. View abstract here.

Policy Updates
The HWCE is committed to sharing information about health policies affecting small businesses.  Click here to stay updated on issues related to the ACA provisions by size of business, final regulations on workplace incentives-based wellness programs, federal guidelines for notifying employees of the Marketplace and the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).

Iowa Health Benefit Exchange Study
The Iowa Department of Public Health and the University of Iowa Public Policy Center is conducting a survey targeting consumers and small business in Iowa to find out their preference on how to purchase health insurance and where you would like to receive information. Information will be valuable for planning the exchange and targeting future education and outreach activities in Iowa.  Access the survey here.

Small Business Outreach Project
The HWCE Small Business Outreach Project is seeking success stories and innovative approaches to employee health, wellness and/or safety programs from employers with less than 250 employees. The project is dedicated to capturing the voices and experiences of small employers and promoting their successes.  Model programs may be shared through the Center’s monthly e-bulletin, website, social media channels, public presentations or through short, case study vignettes. Contact Jenny Hall, Outreach Director, at 319-425-3500 or to share your story.

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Upcoming Webinars & Events
A more detailed listing with registration links is available through our online calendar of events.

* The Next Step LiveHealthyIowa Challenge 
               -Sept 9 to Oct 18, 2013; More information here 
*  The Ultimate Bottom Line: Creating a Culture of Wellness for Your Employees
                -Free workshop with Keynote Speaker, Dee Edington
                -Sept 10, 2013 from 7:30-11:30am in Moline, IL. More information here
* Small Employer Worksite Webinar by the CDC National Healthy Worksite Program
                -Sept 12, 2013; 1:00-2:30pm EDT; Register here
* Unleashing the Power of Technology to Create Healthier Communities
                -Free half-day conference with Keynote/HWCE External Advisor, Martin Sepulveda
                -Sept 12, 2013; 8:30am-1:30pm at the UI College of Public Health Building
                -Register here 
* Small Business Health Insurance Options Program (SHOP) Overview
                 -Free webinar on Sept 19, 2013 from 1:00-2:00pm ET.  Register here
* Does Your Workplace Meet Health & Safety Standards?
                  -Free virtual conference Sept 24-25, 2013. View schedule here
* Walk for Air - American Lung Association Event
Sept 28, 2013 in Des Moines, IA
                  -Arrange a free lunch-n-learn or start a compnay team. s
                  -Email or click here for more information
*Rebalancing the Health Care in the Heartland: Public-Private Sector Strategies
                  -October 15, 2013; 8:00am-3:00pm in Des Moines, IA
                  -Agenda and event registration here
* Iowa Governor's Conference on Occupational Safety and Health
                   -November 6-7, 2013 at the Kirkwood Center in Cedar Rapids, IA
                   -More information available here

Please send questions, comments or ideas for future newsletters to  

Please note that the “links” to other informational sources are provided for your professional development.  The HWCE does not take responsibility for information contained beyond the files administered by the Center and does not represent the endorsement of commercial products.

  The Healthier Workforce Center for Excellence (HWCE) is one of four TWH™ Centers of Excellence funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Our mission is to improve the health of workers in Iowa and nationally through integrated health promotion and health protection research, collaboration with peer institutions, and dissemination of successful interventions.
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