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Physical activity guidelines
In recent years several governments and agencies have developed population-based physical activity (PA) guidelines to guide disease prevention and health promotion policies and strategies. Most guidelines for adults now recommend an overall volume of 150–300 min of at least moderate to vigorous activity per week (500–1000 MET.min/week), twice weekly muscle strengthening exercises and minimising time spent in prolonged sitting.1 2 As these guidelines do not distinguish between PA in different domains (eg, leisure, transport, occupational), it is assumed, for example, that walking for 60 min as part of paid work (as Morris’ postal workers did in the 1960s) is as beneficial for health as is walking for leisure or transport. The problem today is that few occupations involve continuous moderate intensity PA, even though many workers are ‘on their feet all day’ (eg, nurses, retailers, teachers, tradespersons and so on), although at a fairly low level of intensity.
In their editorial, Holtermann et al 3 appear to question the relevance of current guidelines for working adults, as most of the research underpinning their development was drawn from studies of leisure time PA and did not take account of occupational PA. This is true, and reflects the fact that, in the case …
Contributors WJB wrote the first draft of the manuscript and carried out all revisions.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.