How do Office Workers Respond to Media Coverage of Sitting?

Yusuf, Muna and Jagatia, Asha and Mahmood, Zaynah and McCabe, Emma and de Bruijn, Ger-Jan and Smith, Lee and Gardner, Benjamin (2019) How do Office Workers Respond to Media Coverage of Sitting? Occupational Medicine, 69 (5). pp. 372-375. ISSN 1471-8405

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Background. Sitting time is associated with adverse physical and mental health outcomes, and premature mortality. Office workers sit for prolonged periods, so are at particular risk. Scientific advances in public health threats are predominantly communicated to the public through media reports. Aims: This study aimed to examine office workers’ impromptu responses to media coverage of scientific evidence related to the health risks of sedentary behaviour. Methods. Semi-structured interviews were run with 26 office workers (mean age 35 years), recruited from four organisations in southern England. Within the interview, each participant provided a ‘think-aloud’ narrative as they read three real-world news reports relating to sedentary behaviour. Thematic analysis was conducted on verbatim transcripts. Results. Three themes were extracted from the data: gauging the personal relevance of the news reports; questioning their trustworthiness; and challenging the feasibility of proposed sitting-reduction strategies. Participants voiced scepticism about the applicability of the reports to their personal circumstances, and the validity of the reports and the scientific evidence underpinning them. Conclusions. Researchers, press officers, and journalists should emphasise the ways in which participants in research studies represent the broader population of office workers, and offer greater transparency in reporting study methods, when reporting scientific advances in sedentary behaviour.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Sitting, Public Health, Media, Communication, Health Risks, News
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
Depositing User: Lee Smith
Date Deposited: 17 May 2019 08:25
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2021 11:37

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