Article Text

Download PDFPDF
An office-place stepping device to promote workplace physical activity
  1. David A McAlpine,
  2. Chinmay U Manohar,
  3. Shelly K McCrady,
  4. Donald Hensrud,
  5. James A Levine
  1. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA
  1. James A Levine, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester 55905, USA; levine.james{at}


Objective: It was proposed that an office-place stepping device is associated with significant and substantial increases in energy expenditure compared to sitting energy expenditure. The objective was to assess the effect of using an office-place stepping device on the energy expenditure of lean and obese office workers.

Methods: The office-place stepping device is an inexpensive, near-silent, low-impact device that can be housed under a standard desk and plugged into an office PC for self-monitoring. Energy expenditure was measured in lean and obese subjects using the stepping device and during rest, sitting and walking. 19 subjects (27±9 years, 85±23 kg): 9 lean (BMI<25 kg/m2) and 10 obese (BMI>29 kg/m2) attended the experimental office facility. Energy expenditure was measured at rest, while seated in an office chair, standing, walking on a treadmill and while using the office-place stepping device.

Results: The office-place stepping device was associated with an increase in energy expenditure above sitting in an office chair by 289±102 kcal/hour (p<0.001). The increase in energy expenditure was greater for obese (335±99 kcal/hour) than for lean subjects (235±80 kcal/hour; p = 0.03). The increments in energy expenditure were similar to exercise-style walking.

Conclusion: The office-place stepping device could be an approach for office workers to increase their energy expenditure. If the stepping device was used to replace sitting by 2 hours per day and if other components of energy balance were constant, weight loss of 20 kg/year could occur.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding: Supported by grants DK56650, DK63226, DK66270, DK50456 (Minnesota Obesity Center) and RR-0585 from the US Public Health Service and by the Mayo Foundation and by a grant to the Mayo Foundation from Mr R Stuart.

  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Abbreviations:
    non-exercise activity thermogenesis
    personal computer