Increasing physician activity with treadmill desks

Warren G. Thompson, Gabriel A. Koepp, James A. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Prolonged sitting has been shown to increase mortality and obesity.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine whether physicians would use a treadmill desk, increase their daily physical activity and lose weight.

PARTICIPANTS: 20 overweight and obese physicians aged 25 to 70 with Body Mass Index > 25.

METHODS: Participants used a treadmill desk, a triaxial accelerometer, and received exercise counseling in a randomized, cross-over trial over 24 weeks. Group 1 received exercise counseling, accelerometer feedback, and a treadmill desk for 12 weeks and then accelerometer only for 12 weeks. Group 2 received an accelerometer without feedback for 12 weeks followed by exercise counseling, accelerometer feedback, and the treadmill desk for 12 weeks.

RESULTS: Daily physical activity increased while using the treadmill desk compared to not using the desk by 197 kcal per day (p=0.003). The difference in weight during the two 12 week periods was 1.85 kg (p=0.03). Percent body fat was 1.9% lower while using the treadmill desk (p=0.02). There were no differences in metabolic or well-being measures.

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that physicians will use a treadmill desk, that it does increase their activity, and that it may help with weight loss. Further studies are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-51
Number of pages5
JournalWork (Reading, Mass.)
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Physical activity
  • obesity
  • occupational activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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