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Impact of Booster Breaks and Computer Prompts on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Among Desk-Based Workers: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial.

  • Author(s): Taylor, Wendell C;
  • Paxton, Raheem J;
  • Shegog, Ross;
  • Coan, Sharon P;
  • Dubin, Allison;
  • Page, Timothy F;
  • Rempel, David M
  • et al.


The 15-minute work break provides an opportunity to promote health, yet few studies have examined this part of the workday. We studied physical activity and sedentary behavior among office workers and compared the results of the Booster Break program with those of a second intervention and a control group to determine whether the Booster Break program improved physical and behavioral health outcomes.


We conducted a 3-arm, cluster-randomized controlled trial at 4 worksites in Texas from 2010 through 2013 to compare a group-based, structured Booster Break program to an individual-based computer-prompt intervention and a usual-break control group; we analyzed physiologic, behavioral, and employee measures such as work social support, quality of life, and perceived stress. We also identified consistent and inconsistent attendees of the Booster Break sessions.


We obtained data from 175 participants (mean age, 43 y; 67% racial/ethnic minority). Compared with the other groups, the consistent Booster Break attendees had greater weekly pedometer counts (P < .001), significant decreases in sedentary behavior and self-reported leisure-time physical activity (P < .001), and a significant increase in triglyceride concentrations (P = .02) (levels remained within the normal range). Usual-break participants significantly increased their body mass index, whereas Booster Break participants maintained body mass index status during the 6 months. Overall, Booster Break participants were 6.8 and 4.3 times more likely to have decreases in BMI and weekend sedentary time, respectively, than usual-break participants.


Findings varied among the 3 study groups; however, results indicate the potential for consistent attendees of the Booster Break intervention to achieve significant, positive changes related to physical activity, sedentary behavior, and body mass index.

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