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Reducing sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity in the workplace: protocol for a review of systematic reviews
  1. Anna Valeria Dieterich1,
  2. Andre Matthias Müller1,2,
  3. Katika Akksilp3,
  4. Sarin K C3,
  5. Saudamini Vishwanath Dabak3,
  6. Thomas Rouyard4
  1. 1Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  2. 2Centre for Sport & Exercise Sciences, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  3. 3Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program, Mueang Nonthaburi, Thailand
  4. 4Research Center for Health Policy and Economics, Hitotsubashi University, Kunitachi, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Thomas Rouyard; thomas.rouyard{at}


Background and objective Increasing rates of urbanisation have been accompanied by higher levels of sedentary behaviour (SB) and reduced physical activity (PA) worldwide. While physical inactivity has long been identified as a major risk factor for morbidity and mortality, increased concerns about the detrimental associations between SB and health has led to the development of many interventions aimed at reducing SB and/or promoting PA. Due to the prominence of sedentary time spent at work, the workplace has been identified as a key setting to implement such interventions. Building an evidence base of effective strategies to reduce SB and/or promote PA at work is needed to help reduce the health risks faced by many employees.

Methods and analysis We aim to conduct a review of reviews (RoR) to identify, evaluate and synthesise all systematic reviews (SRs) of workplace interventions aimed at reducing SB and/or promoting PA among adults. Systematic searches for relevant SRs will be conducted in six databases: Cochrane Systematic Review Database, Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature through EBSCOhost, EMBASE, PubMed including MEDLINE, Scopus and Web of Science. Selection for final inclusion and data extraction will be performed by two independent reviewers. SRs will be included if they assessed interventions aimed at reducing SB or promoting PA in the workplace, and if they report on changes in the respective behavioural outcomes in the occupational domain.

Discussion This RoR will be valuable to policy-makers and employers who are looking for strategies to promote health at work. This will also allow potential research gaps to be identified, so that the design of future studies can be better informed.

Trial registeration This study has been registered with the PROSPERO International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (registration number CRD42020171774).

  • evidence based review
  • sedentary
  • sitting time
  • physical activity

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  • Twitter @Andre_M_Muller, @thomasrouyard

  • Contributors AMM and TR conceptualised the paper, identified the research question and method of this study. All authors filled in the PROSPERO registration form and identified the search terms and search strategy. AVD and SK executed the search in the electronic database search engines. All authors conducted the title and abstract search. AMM resolved any conflicts in the title and abstract screening. AVD developed the first draft of the manuscript with inputs from TR and AMM; while KA, SK and SVD critically reviewed the draft. All authors have reviewed the final version of the manuscript draft and approved it.

  • Funding The authors received no specific funding for this work. The Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program (HITAP), the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore, and the Research Center for Health Policy and Economics, Hitotsubashi University, are collaborating on the ‘Physical Activity at Work’ research program under the aegis of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (62-00-1662). All three organisations are part of the International Decision Support Initiative (iDSI) which provides technical assistance on health intervention and technology assessment to governments in low and middle-income countries. iDSI is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1202541), the UK’s Department for International Development, and the Rockefeller Foundation. AVD is supported by the Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH-000287). TR is supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Core-to-Core Program (JPJSCCB20200002).

  • Disclaimer The funders had no role in study design, data collection or analysis, preparation of the manuscript or decision to publish.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study.