Research/studies Worker health and wellness Law enforcement

Police exposed to health risks of excessive sitting: study

Iowa City, IA – Police work is mostly sedentary, with officers likely to be more active on their days off than while working, according to a new study from the University of Iowa.

Researchers monitored the activity levels of 119 university campus and municipal police officers in the Midwest and Hawaii for 96 hours. Using a calculation based on energy expenditure, activity intensity and step count per hour, they found officers used about the same amount of energy at work as a person does washing dishes, according to a university press release.

Although lack of activity was an issue across departments, higher-ranking officers were found to be the least active, and university police expended more energy on the job than municipal police. The findings put police in the same category as office workers and other groups whose excessive sitting may increase the risk of health problems such as cardiovascular disease.

To promote movement, the researchers recommended the use of standing computer workstations and computer prompts that remind workers to move around.

The study was presented Feb. 12 at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference.