Loughborough University
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Sedentary behaviours, physical activity and cardiovascular health amongst bus and lorry drivers

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posted on 2016-11-30, 16:13 authored by Veronica Varela-Mato
Prolonged time sitting has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), cardiovascular mortality (CVM), all-cause mortality, diabetes and some cancers. Workers in occupations where there is no alternative to sitting can best be defined as compulsory sedentary workers , which involve bus and lorry drivers amongst others. Limited research is available on the health behaviours and health profiles of individuals working within these occupations. This thesis adopts a mixed methods approach and fits within the MRC framework for the development of complex interventions to specifically investigate bus and lorry drivers sedentary behaviours and physical activity levels in association with their cardiovascular health. Chapter 3 describes a pilot study, which results showed bus drivers accumulate 12 hours sitting on workdays and presented higher than the recommended ranges for BMI, body fat, waist circumference and blood pressure. Chapter 4 explores the validity of using an ActiGraph accelerometer compared to the activPAL to assess bus drivers sedentary behaviours. Results highlight that compared to the activPAL, the ActiGraph underestimates sedentary time during workdays (151minutes/day) and working hours (172min/day). Chapter 5 phenotypes UK lorry drivers sedentary behaviours and non-sedentary behaviours during workdays and non-workdays and examines lorry drivers markers of cardiovascular health. Lorry drivers accumulate 13 hours sitting on workdays and 8 hours on non-workdays and presented an ill-cardiovascular profile. Chapter 6 examines the effects of an intervention designed to promote PA and reduce sedentary time on a range of cardiovascular risk factors in a sample of lorry drivers. Chapter 7 presents a process evaluation of the Structured Health Intervention for Truckers (SHIFT) programme described in Chapter 6. This thesis highlights that bus and lorry drivers accumulate the highest amount of sitting time reported up to date, together with high levels of physical inactivity and an ill-cardiovascular profile. However, positive changes in cardiovascular risk factors were observed when drivers increased their daily average of step counts. Overall, these results emphasise that targeting bus and lorry drivers health behaviours should be a public health priority.


NIHR Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Veronica Varela-Mato

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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  • PhD

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  • Doctoral

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