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1.  Effectiveness of a Worksite Social & Physical Environment Intervention on Need for Recovery, Physical Activity and Relaxation; Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114860.
To investigate the effectiveness of a worksite social and physical environment intervention on need for recovery (i.e., early symptoms of work-related mental and physical fatigue), physical activity and relaxation. Also, the effectiveness of the separate interventions was investigated.
In this 2×2 factorial design study, 412 office employees from a financial service provider participated. Participants were allocated to the combined social and physical intervention, to the social intervention only, to the physical intervention only or to the control group. The primary outcome measure was need for recovery. Secondary outcomes were work-related stress (i.e., exhaustion, detachment and relaxation), small breaks, physical activity (i.e., stair climbing, active commuting, sport activities, light/moderate/vigorous physical activity) and sedentary behavior. Outcomes were measured by questionnaires at baseline, 6 and 12 months follow-up. Multilevel analyses were performed to investigate the effects of the three interventions.
In all intervention groups, a non-significant reduction was found in need for recovery. In the combined intervention (n = 92), exhaustion and vigorous physical activities decreased significantly, and small breaks at work and active commuting increased significantly compared to the control group. The social intervention (n = 118) showed a significant reduction in exhaustion, sedentary behavior at work and a significant increase in small breaks at work and leisure activities. In the physical intervention (n = 96), stair climbing at work and active commuting significantly increased, and sedentary behavior at work decreased significantly compared to the control group.
None of the interventions was effective in improving the need for recovery. It is recommended to implement the social and physical intervention among a population with higher baseline values of need for recovery. Furthermore, the intervention itself could be improved by increasing the intensity of the intervention (for example weekly GMI-sessions), providing physical activity opportunities and exercise schemes, and by more drastic environment interventions (restructuring entire department floor).
Trial Registration
Nederlands Trial Register NTR2553
PMCID: PMC4277283  PMID: 25542039
2.  The Dutch Obesity Intervention in Teenagers (DOiT) cluster controlled implementation trial: intervention effects and mediators and moderators of adiposity and energy balance-related behaviours 
The Dutch Obesity Intervention in Teenagers (DOiT) programme is an evidence-based obesity prevention programme tailored to adolescents attending the first two years of prevocational education in the Netherlands. The initial programme showed promising results during an effectiveness trial. The programme was adapted and prepared for nationwide dissemination. To gain more insight into the process of translating evidence-based approaches into ‘real world’ (i.e., ‘natural’) conditions, our research aims were to evaluate the impact of the DOiT-implementation programme on adolescents’ adiposity and energy balance-related behaviours during natural dissemination and to explore the mediating and moderating factors underlying the DOiT intervention effects.
We conducted a cluster-controlled implementation trial with 20 voluntary intervention schools (n=1002 adolescents) and 9 comparable control schools (n = 484 adolescents). We measured adolescents’ body height and weight, skinfold thicknesses, and waist circumference. We assessed adolescents’ dietary and physical activity behaviours by means of self-report. Data were collected at baseline and at 20-months follow-up. We used multivariable multilevel linear or logistic regression analyses to evaluate the intervention effects and to test the hypothesised behavioural mediating factors. We checked for potential effect modification by gender, ethnicity and education level.
We found no significant intervention effects on any of the adiposity measures or behavioural outcomes. Furthermore, we found no mediating effects by any of the hypothesised behavioural mediators. Stratified analyses for gender showed that the intervention was effective in reducing sugar-containing beverage consumption in girls (B = -188.2 ml/day; 95% CI = -344.0; -32.3). In boys, we found a significant positive intervention effect on breakfast frequency (B = 0.29 days/week; 95% CI = 0.01; 0.58). Stratified analyses for education level showed an adverse intervention effect (B = 0.09; 95% CI = 0.02; 0.16) on BMI z-scores for adolescents attending the vocational education track.
Although not successful in changing adolescents’ adiposity, the DOiT-implementation programme had some beneficial effects on specific obesity-related behaviours in subgroups. This study underlines the difficulty of translating intervention effectiveness in controlled settings to real world contexts. Adaptations to the implementation strategy are needed in order to promote implementation as intended by the teachers.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN92755979.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12966-014-0158-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4304621  PMID: 25539582
Adolescents; Mediation; Intervention; Prevention; Energy balance; Implementation; Dissemination
3.  Dose-Response Effects of a Web-Based Physical Activity Program on Body Composition and Metabolic Health in Inactive Older Adults: Additional Analyses of a Randomized Controlled Trial 
Low physical activity is a major risk factor for several age-related diseases. Recently, we showed in a randomized controlled trial that a 12-week Web-based intervention (Philips DirectLife) to increase physical activity was effective in increasing physical activity levels and metabolic health in an inactive population aged 60-70 years.
The goal of this paper was to assess how many participants successfully reached the physical activity level as targeted by the intervention and what the effects of the intervention on body composition and metabolic health in these successful individuals were to provide insight in the maximum attainable effect of the intervention.
Among the 235 participants in a randomized controlled trial of the Actief en Gezond Oud (AGO) study, we assessed the effects of the intervention on metabolic parameters in those who had successfully reached their personalized physical activity target compared with the entire intervention group. Furthermore, we studied the dose-response effect of increase in physical activity on metabolic outcome within the intervention group.
Of the intervention group, 50 of 119 (42.0%) participants successfully reached the physical activity target (corresponding to a 10% increased daily physical activity on average). This group showed markedly higher effects of the intervention compared to the entire intervention group, with greater decreases in body weight (2.74 vs 1.49 kg), waist circumference (3.74 vs 2.33 cm), insulin resistance (HOMA index: 0.23 vs 0.20), and in cholesterol/HDL ratio (0.39 vs 0.20) and Framingham risk score (0.90% vs 0.54%). We found that men compared to women were more likely to be successful. The dose-response analysis showed that there was a significant association between increase in minutes spent in moderate-to-vigorous activity and body weight loss, BMI reduction, waist circumference reduction, HDL cholesterol increasing, and cholesterol/HDL ratio lowering.
Of the intervention group, 42.0% (50/119) reached their daily physical activity end goal, which was associated with a markedly better effect on body composition and metabolic health compared to the effect in the entire intervention group. In this population, men are more likely to be successful in increasing physical activity. Findings demonstrate that improving the effect of such physical activity interventions requires finding new ways to increase the proportion of the population reaching the targeted goal.
Trial Registration
Dutch Trial Registry: NTR 3045; (Archived by WebCite at
PMCID: PMC4275504  PMID: 25486673
Internet; physical activity; aging; metabolism
4.  Effect of Moderate-Intensity Exercise Versus Activities of Daily Living on 24-Hour Blood Glucose Homeostasis in Male Patients With Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(11):3448-3453.
To investigate the impact of activities of daily living (ADL) versus moderate-intensity endurance-type exercise on 24-h glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Twenty males with type 2 diabetes participated in a randomized crossover study consisting of three experimental periods of 3 days each. Subjects were studied under sedentary control conditions, and under conditions in which prolonged sedentary time was reduced either by three 15-min bouts of ADL (postmeal strolling, ∼3 METs) or by a single 45-min bout of moderate-intensity endurance-type exercise (∼6 METs). Blood glucose concentrations were assessed by continuous glucose monitoring, and plasma insulin concentrations were determined in frequently sampled venous blood samples.
Hyperglycemia (glucose >10 mmol/L) was experienced for 6 h 51 min ±1 h 4 min per day during the sedentary control condition and was significantly reduced by exercise (4 h 47 min ± 1 h 2 min; P < 0.001), but not by ADL (6 h 2 min ± 1 h 16 min; P = 0.67). The cumulative glucose incremental areas under the curve (AUCs) of breakfast, lunch, and dinner were, respectively, 35 ± 5% (P < 0.001) and 17 ± 6% (P < 0.05) lower during the exercise and ADL conditions compared with the sedentary condition. The insulin incremental AUCs were, respectively, 33 ± 4% (P < 0.001) and 17 ± 5% (P < 0.05) lower during the exercise and ADL conditions compared with the sedentary condition.
When matched for total duration, moderate-intensity endurance-type exercise represents a more effective strategy to improve daily blood glucose homeostasis than repeated bouts of ADL. Nevertheless, the introduction of repeated bouts of ADL during prolonged sedentary behavior forms a valuable strategy to improve postprandial glucose handling in patients with type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3816888  PMID: 24041682
5.  Number and appraisal of daily hassles and life events in young adulthood: the association with physical activity and screen time: a longitudinal cohort study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):1067.
Young adults face radical life changes regarding residence, marriage, family and work that may negatively impact their health behaviours. Therefore, we investigated the associations of the number of daily hassles and life events and their subjective appraisal with physical activity and screen time in young adulthood.
Data came from participants of the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study (AGAHLS). Self-reported physical activity (min/wk) was used from wave 6 (1991; mean age 27), wave 7 (1993; mean age 29), wave 8 (1996/1997; mean age 32) and 9 (2000; mean age 36). Self-reported screen time (h/wk) was assessed in waves 8 and 9. The number and the appraisal of daily hassles and major life events were assessed with the Everyday Problem Checklist and Life Events List, respectively (including five life event domains, i.e.: health, work, home/family, personal/social relations, and finances). The final sample included 474 participants for the physical activity analyses and 475 participants for the screen time analyses. To test the longitudinal associations of daily hassles and life events with physical activity and screen time, univariable and multivariable Generalised Estimating Equations were performed. Effect modification by gender was tested.
Physical activity levels were higher in those who had experienced more daily hassles. People who reported higher subjective appraisal in the work and finances life event domains also had higher levels of physical activity, although only the subjective appraisal in the finances domain remained significant in the multivariable model. No significant associations between number and subjective appraisal of daily hassles and life events and screen time were observed.
The occurrence of specific life events may be more influential for people’s physical activity behaviour than their respective sum or emotional tone. Still, the assessment of daily hassles may be a relevant addition in this research field. Finally, we suggest that daily hassles and life events are less important for explaining screen time behaviour than for physical activity.
PMCID: PMC4213509  PMID: 25308800
Adults; GEE; Prospective cohort; Sedentary behaviour
6.  The Relationship of Objectively Measured Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour with Gestational Weight Gain and Birth Weight 
Journal of Pregnancy  2014;2014:567379.
Objective. To evaluate the relationship of physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviour with gestational weight gain (GWG) and birth weight. Design. Combined data from two prospective studies: (1) nulliparous pregnant women without BMI restrictions and (2) overweight and obese pregnant women at risk for gestational diabetes. Methods. Daily PA and sedentary behaviour were measured with an accelerometer around 15 and at 32–35 weeks of gestation. The association between time spent in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) and in sedentary activities with GWG and birth weight was determined. Main outcome measures were GWG between 15 and 32 weeks of gestation, average GWG per week, and birth weight. Results. We studied 111 women. Early in pregnancy, 32% of women spent ≥30 minutes/day in at least moderate PA versus 12% in late pregnancy. No significant associations were found between time spent in MVPA or sedentary behaviour with GWG or birth weight. Conclusions. We found no relation between MVPA and sedentary behaviour with GWG or birth weight. The small percentage of women meeting the recommended levels of PA indicates the need to inform and support pregnant women to maintain regular PA, as there seems to be no adverse effect on birth weight and maintaining PA increases overall health.
PMCID: PMC4189770  PMID: 25309754
7.  Effects of acute bouts of physical activity on children's attention: a systematic review of the literature 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:410.
The aim of this review was to describe the effects of acute bouts of physical activity on attention levels of children. A systematic review was performed of English studies from searches in PubMed, Sportdiscus and PsycINFO from 1990 to (May) 2014 according to the PRISMA statement. Only prospective studies of children aged 4-18 years old were included, detailing acute effects of physical activity bouts with the primary outcome attention.
One reviewer extracted data on the study characteristics. Two reviewers conducted the methodological quality assessment independently using a criteria checklist, which was based on the Downs and Black checklist for non-randomised studies.
Overall the evidence is thin and inconclusive. The methodological differences in study sample (size and age), study design and measurement of attention make it difficult to compare results.
There is weak evidence for the effect of acute bouts of physical activity on attention. More experimental studies with a comparable methodology, especially in the school setting, are needed to strengthen this evidence.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2193-1801-3-410) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4132441  PMID: 25133092
Exercise; Sport; Cognitive performance; Cognitive control; Concentration; Systematic review; Physical activity
8.  The Association between IGF-1 Polymorphisms, IGF-1 Serum Levels, and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: The Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study 
Several studies have demonstrated an association between polymorphisms in the insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) gene and IGF-1 serum levels. IGF-1 levels have been associated with cognitive functioning in older persons and growth hormone deficient patients. The present study investigates whether IGF-1 polymorphisms, IGF-1 levels, and cognition are interconnected in healthy adults. Data of 277 participants (mean age: 42.4 years) of the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study on IGF-1 promoter polymorphisms, IGF-1 serum level, spatial working memory (SWM), paired associate learning (PAL), and IQ tests were analyzed. (M)ANOVAs were applied to confirm the associations between IGF-1 polymorphisms and IGF-1 levels and between IGF-1 levels and cognition. Three groups were distinguished based on specific IGF-1 polymorphism alleles: a homozygote 192 bp/192 bp genotype, a heterozygote 192 bp/x genotype, and a noncarrier x/x genotype. Although different IGF-1 levels were found for the three genotypes, performance on all cognitive tasks and IQ measures was similar. Despite the associations between IGF-1 polymorphisms and IGF-1 levels, no association was found between cognition and IGF-1 levels. It seems that IGF-1 does not play a role in the cognitive performance of healthy middle-aged adults. Possible, IGF-1 fulfills a more developmental and protective role in cognition which becomes apparent during childhood, old-age, or disease.
PMCID: PMC4120488  PMID: 25114679
9.  Long-Term Results of a Web-Based Guided Self-Help Intervention for Employees With Depressive Symptoms: Randomized Controlled Trial 
Depressive disorders are highly prevalent in the working population and are associated with excessive costs. The evidence for effective worker-directed interventions for employees with depressive symptoms is limited. Treating employees with depressive symptoms via the Internet before they report sick from work could be beneficial and cost saving.
In this study, we tested the effectiveness over the period of 1 year of a Web-based guided self-help intervention, called Happy@Work, for employees with depressive symptoms who were not on sick leave.
A two-arm randomized controlled trial comparing a worker-directed, Web-based, guided self-help intervention to care as usual (CAU) was carried out. We recruited employees from 6 companies via the company’s Intranet and by putting up posters. The inclusion criteria were elevated depressive symptoms as measured by a score ≥16 on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES-D) and not being on sick leave. The intervention contained 6 lessons and consisted of problem-solving treatment and cognitive therapy. Participants were asked to submit weekly assignments via the website after completion of a lesson and they received feedback from a coach via the website. Self-report questionnaires on depressive symptoms (CES-D; primary outcome), burnout (Maslach Burnout Inventory, MBI), work performance (Health and Work Performance Questionnaire, HPQ), duration of absenteeism, and anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, HADS; secondary outcomes), were completed at baseline, posttreatment, and at 6-, and 12-month follow-up. Several subgroup and per-protocol analyses were performed.
A total of 231 employees were randomized to either the intervention group (n=116) or to CAU (n=115). Completion of assessments varied between 54%-74%. Improvement in depressive symptoms between baseline and posttreatment was shown in all participants and these effects sustained over time. However, there were no differences between the 2 groups (adjusted regression coefficient=0.46, 95% CI –2.11 to 3.03, P=.72; Cohen’s d=0.05). Differences between groups were also not significant for the secondary outcomes. No subgroups were identified to show differences between the groups, nor did we find a between-group effect in the per-protocol analyses.
This study showed that a worker-directed, Web-based, guided self-help intervention was not more effective than CAU in reducing depressive symptoms among employees with depressive symptoms who were not on sick leave over the period of 1 year. An intervention for this specific target group might not be necessary because the recovery in the CAU group was comparable to the intervention group and sustained over a 12-month period.
Trial Registration
Nederlands Trial Register (NTR): NTR2993; (Archived by WebCite at
PMCID: PMC4115257  PMID: 25008127
depression; employees; occupational intervention; self-help; prevention; burnout; Internet
10.  Determinants of exercise adherence and maintenance among cancer survivors: a systematic review 
For an exercise intervention to be successful, it is important that cancer survivors adhere to the prescribed program. To be able to improve adherence and to preserve achieved beneficial effects, insights into the relevant and modifiable determinants is important. Therefore, we aimed to systematically review determinants of exercise adherence and maintenance in cancer survivors using a socio-ecological approach.
Studies were identified in PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO and SPORTDiscus up to July 2013. We included full-text articles that: 1) were conducted among adult cancer survivors; 2) quantitatively assessed factors associated with intervention adherence and maintenance, and 3) were published in English. The methodological quality of the selected studies was examined. A best evidence synthesis was applied.
Eighteen studies were included. Median methodological quality was 53% and ranged from 21-78% of maximum score. Twelve studies focused on determinants of exercise adherence and evaluated 71 potential determinants: 29 demographic and clinical, 27 psychological, ten physical, four social factors, and one environmental factor. Six studies focused on determinants of exercise maintenance after completion of an intervention, and investigated 63 factors: 22 demographic and clinical, 28 psychosocial, nine physical, three social and one environmental factor. We found moderate evidence for a positive association between exercise history and exercise adherence. Inconsistent findings were found for age, gender and education as well as for psychological factors such as stage of change, perceived behavioral control, self-efficacy, extraversion, attitude, intention, fatigue, and quality of life, and physical factors including cardiovascular fitness, body mass index, and baseline physical activity.
Exercise history is positively associated with exercise adherence. Future trials should further study the influence of social and environmental determinants on exercise adherence and maintenance in addition to demographic, psychological and physical determinants.
PMCID: PMC4096543  PMID: 24989069
Physical activity; Exercise; Intervention adherence; Determinants; Neoplasms; Behavior; Systematic review
11.  Return to work of workers without a permanent employment contract, sick-listed due to a common mental disorder: design of a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:594.
Workers without a permanent employment contract represent a vulnerable group within the working population. Mental disorders are a major cause of sickness absence within this group. Common mental disorders are stress-related, depressive and anxiety disorders. To date, little attention has been paid to effective return to work interventions for this type of sick-listed workers. Therefore, a participatory supportive return to work program has been developed. It combines elements of a participatory return to work program, integrated care and direct placement in a competitive job.
The objective of this paper is to describe the design of a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of this program compared to care as usual.
The cost-effectiveness of the participatory supportive return to work program will be examined in a randomised controlled trial with a follow-up of twelve months.
The program strongly involves the sick-listed worker in the identification of obstacles for return to work and possible solutions, resulting in a consensus based action plan. This plan will be used as a starting point for the search of suitable competitive employment with support of a rehabilitation agency. During this process the insurance physician of the sick-listed worker contacts other caregivers to promote integrated care.
Workers eligible to participate in this study have no permanent employment contract, have applied for a sickness benefit at the Dutch Social Security Agency and are sick-listed between two and fourteen weeks due to mental health problems.
The primary outcome measure is the duration until first sustainable return to work in a competitive job. Outcomes are measured at baseline and after three, six, nine and twelve months.
If the participatory supportive return to work program proves to be cost-effective, the social security system, the sick-listed worker and society as a whole will benefit. A cost-effective return to work program will lead to a reduction of costs related to sickness absence. For the sick-listed worker a cost-effective program results in earlier sustainable return to work, which can be associated with both social and health benefits.
Trial registration
The trial registration number and date is NTR3563, August 7, 2012.
PMCID: PMC4061521  PMID: 24919561
Return to work; Intervention; Sickness absence; Common mental disorders; Unemployed workers; Temporary agency workers; Fixed-term contract workers; Vulnerable workers; Occupational health care; Social security; Randomised controlled trial
12.  Short-Term Effects of a Web-Based Guided Self-Help Intervention for Employees With Depressive Symptoms: Randomized Controlled Trial 
Depressive disorders are highly prevalent in the working population and are associated with excessive costs. The evidence for effective worker-directed interventions for employees with depressive symptoms is limited. Treating employees with depressive symptoms before sick leave via the Internet could be beneficial and cost saving.
In this study, we developed and tested the effectiveness of a Web-based guided self-help course for employees with depressive symptoms. We report on the posttreatment effectiveness of the intervention.
This study is a two-arm randomized controlled trial comparing a Web-based guided self-help course to care as usual (CAU). We recruited employees from 6 different companies via the companies’ intranet and posters. The main inclusion criterion was elevated depressive symptoms as measured by a score of ≥16 on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D). The intervention (Happy@Work) was based on problem-solving treatment and cognitive therapy and consisted of 6 weekly lessons. Participants were asked to submit their weekly assignment via the website after completion. They subsequently received feedback from a coach via the website. Self-report questionnaires on depressive symptoms (CES-D; primary outcome), anxiety measured by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), burnout measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), and work performance measured by the Health and Work Performance Questionnaire (HPQ; secondary outcomes) were completed at baseline and at posttreatment.
A total of 231 employees were randomized to either the intervention group (n=116) or CAU (n=115).The posttreatment assessment was completed by 171 (74.0%) participants. Both the intervention and the CAU group showed significant improvements in the primary outcome of depressive symptoms, but no differences between the conditions was found (d=0.16, 95% CI –0.10 to 0.41, P=.29). Significant but small effects in favor of the intervention group were found for anxiety symptoms (d=0.16, 95% CI –0.09 to 0.42, P=.04) and exhaustion (d=0.17, 95% CI –0.09 to 0.43, P=.02).
This study showed that a Web-based guided self-help course for employees with depressive symptoms was not more effective in reducing depressive symptoms among employees than CAU. Large improvements in depressive symptoms in the CAU group were unforeseen and potential explanations are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4026573  PMID: 24800966
depression, employees, occupational therapy, Internet, prevention
13.  Long-Term Effect of a School-Based Physical Activity Program (KISS) on Fitness and Adiposity in Children: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87929.
School-based intervention studies promoting a healthy lifestyle have shown favorable immediate health effects. However, there is a striking paucity on long-term follow-ups. The aim of this study was therefore to assess the 3 yr-follow-up of a cluster-randomized controlled school-based physical activity program over nine month with beneficial immediate effects on body fat, aerobic fitness and physical activity.
Methods and Findings
Initially, 28 classes from 15 elementary schools in Switzerland were grouped into an intervention (16 classes from 9 schools, n = 297 children) and a control arm (12 classes from 6 schools, n = 205 children) after stratification for grade (1st and 5th graders). Three years after the end of the multi-component physical activity program of nine months including daily physical education (i.e. two additional lessons per week on top of three regular lessons), short physical activity breaks during academic lessons, and daily physical activity homework, 289 (58%) participated in the follow-up. Primary outcome measures included body fat (sum of four skinfolds), aerobic fitness (shuttle run test), physical activity (accelerometry), and quality of life (questionnaires). After adjustment for grade, gender, baseline value and clustering within classes, children in the intervention arm compared with controls had a significantly higher average level of aerobic fitness at follow-up (0.373 z-score units [95%-CI: 0.157 to 0.59, p = 0.001] corresponding to a shift from the 50th to the 65th percentile between baseline and follow-up), while the immediate beneficial effects on the other primary outcomes were not sustained.
Apart from aerobic fitness, beneficial effects seen after one year were not maintained when the intervention was stopped. A continuous intervention seems necessary to maintain overall beneficial health effects as reached at the end of the intervention.
Trial Registration ISRCTN15360785
PMCID: PMC3912178  PMID: 24498404
14.  Biological, socio-demographic, work and lifestyle determinants of sitting in young adult women: a prospective cohort study 
Sitting is associated with health risks. Factors that influence sitting are however not well understood. The aim was to examine the biological, socio-demographic, work-related and lifestyle determinants of sitting time (including during transport, work and leisure) in young adult Australian women.
Self-reported data from 11,676 participants (aged 22–27 years in 2000) in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health were collected over 9 years in 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009. Generalised Estimating Equations were used to examine univariable and multivariable associations of body mass index (BMI), country of birth, area of residence, education, marital status, number of children, occupational status, working hours, physical activity, smoking, alcohol intake and stress with week- and weekend-day sitting time.
Compared with women in the respective referent categories, (1) women with higher BMI, those born in Asia, those with less than University level education, doing white collar work, working 41–48 hours a week, current smokers, non, rare or risky/high risk drinkers and those being somewhat stressed had significantly higher sitting time; and (2) women living in rural and remote areas, partnered women, those with children, those without a paid job and blue collar workers, those working less than 34 hours a week, and active women had significantly lower sitting time.
Among young adult Australian women, those with higher BMI, those born in Asia, those with higher level occupations and long working hours, were most at risk of higher sitting time. These results can be used to identify at-risk groups and inform intervention development.
PMCID: PMC3904408  PMID: 24457004
Epidemiology; Prospective studies; Sedentary lifestyle; Women’s health
15.  The implementation effectiveness of the ‘Strengthen your ankle’ smartphone application for the prevention of ankle sprains: design of a randomized controlled trial 
Ankle sprains continue to pose a significant burden to the individual athlete, as well as to society as a whole. However, despite ankle sprains being the single most common sports injury and despite an active approach by various Dutch organisations in implementing preventive measures, large-scale community uptake of these preventive measures, and thus actual prevention of ankle sprains, is lagging well behind. In an attempt to bridge this implementation gap, the Dutch Consumer Safety Institute VeiligheidNL developed a freely available interactive App (‘Strenghten your ankle’ translated in Dutch as: ‘Versterk je enkel; available for iOS and Android) that contains - next to general advice on bracing and taping - a proven cost-effective neuromuscular program. The ‘Strengthen your ankle’ App has not been evaluated against the ‘regular’ prevention approach in which the neuromuscular program is advocated through written material. The aim of the current project is to evaluate the implementation value of the ‘Strengthen your ankle’ App as compared to the usual practice of providing injured athletes with written materials. In addition, as a secondary outcome measure, the cost-effectiveness will be assessed against usual practice.
The proposed study will be a randomised controlled trial. After stratification for medical caregiver, athletes will be randomised to two study groups. One group will receive a standardized eight-week proprioceptive training program that has proven to be cost-effective to prevent recurrent ankle injuries, consisting of a balance board (machU/ MSG Europe BVBA), and a traditional instructional booklet. The other group will receive the same exercise program and balance board. However, for this group the instructional booklet is exchanged by the interactive ‘Strengthen your ankle’ App.
This trial is the first randomized controlled trial to study the implementation effectiveness of an App for proprioceptive balance board training program in comparison to a traditional printed instruction booklet, with the recurrence of ankle sprains among athletes as study outcome. Results of this study could possibly lead to changes in practical guidelines on the treatment of ankle sprains and in the use of mobile applications for injury prevention. Results will become available in 2014.
Trial registration
The Netherlands National Trial Register NTR4027. The NTR is part of the WHO Primary Registries.
PMCID: PMC3923004  PMID: 24393146
Mobile health; Ankle sprains; Ankle injury; Prevention; Neuromuscular training
16.  Associations between overweight, obesity, health measures and need for recovery in office employees: a cross-sectional analysis 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:1207.
With both a high need for recovery (NFR) and overweight and obesity being a potential burden for organizations (e.g. productivity loss and sickness absence), the aim of this paper was to examine the associations between overweight and obesity and several other health measures and NFR in office workers.
Baseline data of 412 office employees participating in a randomised controlled trial aimed at improving NFR in office workers were used. Associations between self-reported BMI categories (normal body weight, overweight, obesity) and several other health measures (general health, mental health, sleep quality, stress and vitality) with NFR were examined. Unadjusted and adjusted linear regression analyses were performed and adjusted for age, education and job demands. In addition, we adjusted for general health in the association between overweight and obesity and NFR.
A significant positive association was observed between stress and NFR (B = 18.04, 95%CI:14.53-21.56). General health, mental health, sleep quality and vitality were negatively associated with NFR (p < 0.001). Analyses also showed a significant positive association between obesity and NFR (B = 8.77, 95%CI:0.01-17.56), but not between overweight and NFR.
The findings suggest that self-reported stress is, and obesity may be, associated with a higher NFR. Additionally, the results imply that health measures that indicate a better health are associated with a lower NFR.
Trial registration
The trial is registered at the Dutch Trial Register (NTR) under trial registration number: NTR2553.
PMCID: PMC3890611  PMID: 24359267
Cross-sectional study; Need for recovery; Employees; Overweight; Obesity; Health measures
17.  Exploring facilitating factors and barriers to the nationwide dissemination of a Dutch school-based obesity prevention program “DOiT”: a study protocol 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:1201.
The evidence-based Dutch Obesity Intervention in Teenagers (DOiT) program is a school-based obesity prevention program for 12 to 14-year olds attending the first two years of prevocational education. This paper describes the study protocol applied to evaluate (a) the nationwide dissemination process of DOiT in the Netherlands, and (b) the relationship between quality of implementation and effectiveness during nationwide dissemination of the program in the Netherlands.
In order to explore facilitating factors and barriers for dissemination of DOiT, we monitored the process of adoption, implementation and continuation of the DOiT program among 20 prevocational schools in the Netherlands. The study was an observational study using qualitative (i.e. semi-structured interviews) and quantitative methods (i.e. questionnaires and logbooks). Eight process indicators were assessed: recruitment, context, reach, dosage, fidelity, satisfaction, effectiveness and continuation. All teachers, students and parents involved in the implementation of the program were invited to participate in the study. As part of the process evaluation, a cluster-controlled trial with ten control schools was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the program on students’ anthropometry and energy balance-related behaviours and its association with quality of implementation.
The identified impeding and facilitating factors will contribute to an adjusted strategy promoting adoption, implementation and continuation of the DOiT program to ensure optimal use and, thereby, prevention of obesity in Dutch adolescents.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN92755979.
PMCID: PMC3878240  PMID: 24355056
Dissemination; Implementation; Adolescent; Overweight; Obesity; Schools; Prevention; Process evaluation
18.  What is actually measured in process evaluations for worksite health promotion programs: a systematic review 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:1190.
Numerous worksite health promotion program (WHPPs) have been implemented the past years to improve employees’ health and lifestyle (i.e., physical activity, nutrition, smoking, alcohol use and relaxation). Research primarily focused on the effectiveness of these WHPPs. Whereas process evaluations provide essential information necessary to improve large scale implementation across other settings. Therefore, this review aims to: (1) further our understanding of the quality of process evaluations alongside effect evaluations for WHPPs, (2) identify barriers/facilitators affecting implementation, and (3) explore the relationship between effectiveness and the implementation process.
Pubmed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and Cochrane (controlled trials) were searched from 2000 to July 2012 for peer-reviewed (randomized) controlled trials published in English reporting on both the effectiveness and the implementation process of a WHPP focusing on physical activity, smoking cessation, alcohol use, healthy diet and/or relaxation at work, targeting employees aged 18-65 years.
Of the 307 effect evaluations identified, twenty-two (7.2%) published an additional process evaluation and were included in this review. The results showed that eight of those studies based their process evaluation on a theoretical framework. The methodological quality of nine process evaluations was good. The most frequently reported process components were dose delivered and dose received. Over 50 different implementation barriers/facilitators were identified. The most frequently reported facilitator was strong management support. Lack of resources was the most frequently reported barrier. Seven studies examined the link between implementation and effectiveness. In general a positive association was found between fidelity, dose and the primary outcome of the program.
Process evaluations are not systematically performed alongside effectiveness studies for WHPPs. The quality of the process evaluations is mostly poor to average, resulting in a lack of systematically measured barriers/facilitators. The narrow focus on implementation makes it difficult to explore the relationship between effectiveness and implementation. Furthermore, the operationalisation of process components varied between studies, indicating a need for consensus about defining and operationalising process components.
PMCID: PMC3890539  PMID: 24341605
Implementation; Worksite health promotion program; Systematic review; Process evaluation; Lifestyle intervention; Determinants of implementation; Barriers and facilitators
19.  Effects of a Web-Based Intervention on Physical Activity and Metabolism in Older Adults: Randomized Controlled Trial 
Lack of physical activity leads to detrimental changes in body composition and metabolism, functional decline, and increased risk of disease in old age. The potential of Web-assisted interventions for increasing physical activity and improving metabolism in older individuals holds great promise but to our knowledge it has not been studied.
The goal of our study was to assess whether a Web-based intervention increases physical activity and improves metabolic health in inactive older adults.
We conducted a 3-month randomized, waitlist-controlled trial in a volunteer sample of 235 inactive adults aged 60-70 years without diabetes. The intervention group received the Internet program Philips DirectLife, which was directed at increasing physical activity using monitoring and feedback by accelerometer and digital coaching. The primary outcome was relative increase in physical activity measured objectively using ankle- and wrist-worn accelerometers. Secondary outcomes of metabolic health included anthropometric measures and parameters of glucose metabolism.
In total, 226 participants (97%) completed the study. At the ankle, activity counts increased by 46% (standard error [SE] 7%) in the intervention group, compared to 12% (SE 3%) in the control group (P difference<.001). Measured at the wrist, activity counts increased by 11% (SE 3%) in the intervention group and 5% (SE 2%) in the control group (P difference=.11). After processing of the data, this corresponded to a daily increase of 11 minutes in moderate-to-vigorous activity in the intervention group versus 0 minutes in the control group (P difference=.001). Weight decreased significantly more in the intervention group compared to controls (−1.5 kg vs −0.8 kg respectively, P=.046), as did waist circumference (−2.3 cm vs −1.3 cm respectively, P=.036) and fat mass (−0.6% vs 0.07% respectively, P=.025). Furthermore, insulin and HbA1c levels were significantly more reduced in the intervention group compared to controls (both P<.05).
This was the first study to show that in inactive older adults, a 3-month Web-based physical activity intervention was effective in increasing objectively measured daily physical activity and improving metabolic health. Such Web-based interventions provide novel opportunities for large scale prevention of metabolic deregulation in our rapidly aging population.
Trial Registration
Dutch Trial Registry: NTR 3045; (Archived by WebCite at
PMCID: PMC3841355  PMID: 24195965
physical activity; Internet; accelerometry; aging; metabolism; self-monitoring
20.  Research priorities for child and adolescent physical activity and sedentary behaviours: an international perspective using a twin-panel Delphi procedure 
The quantity and quality of studies in child and adolescent physical activity and sedentary behaviour have rapidly increased, but research directions are often pursued in a reactive and uncoordinated manner.
To arrive at an international consensus on research priorities in the area of child and adolescent physical activity and sedentary behaviour.
Two independent panels, each consisting of 12 experts, undertook three rounds of a Delphi methodology. The Delphi methodology required experts to anonymously answer questions put forward by the researchers with feedback provided between each round.
The primary outcome of the study was a ranked set of 29 research priorities that aimed to be applicable for the next 10 years. The top three ranked priorities were: developing effective and sustainable interventions to increase children’s physical activity long-term; policy and/or environmental change and their influence on children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour; and prospective, longitudinal studies of the independent effects of physical activity and sedentary behaviour on health.
These research priorities can help to guide decisions on future research directions.
PMCID: PMC3853883  PMID: 24228891
Physical activity; Sedentary behaviour; Research priorities; Children; Adolescents
21.  The incidence of rugby-related catastrophic injuries (including cardiac events) in South Africa from 2008 to 2011: a cohort study 
BMJ Open  2013;3(2):e002475.
To establish an accurate and comprehensive injury incidence registry of all rugby union-related catastrophic events in South Africa between 2008 and 2011. An additional aim was to investigate correlates associated with these injuries.
The South African amateur and professional rugby-playing population.
An estimated 529 483 Junior and 121 663 Senior rugby union (‘rugby’) players (population at risk).
Outcome measures
Annual average incidences of rugby-related catastrophic injuries by type (cardiac events, traumatic brain and acute spinal cord injuries (ASCIs)) and outcome (full recoveries—fatalities). Playing level (junior and senior levels), position and event (phase of play) were also assessed.
The average annual incidence of ASCIs and Traumatic Brain Injuries combined was 2.00 per 100 000 players (95% CI 0.91 to 3.08) from 2008 to 2011. The incidence of ASCIs with permanent outcomes was significantly higher at the Senior level (4.52 per 100 000 players, 95% CI 0.74 to 8.30) than the Junior level (0.24 per 100 000 players, 95% CI 0 to 0.65) during this period. The hooker position was associated with 46% (n=12 of 26) of all permanent ASCI outcomes, the majority of which (83%) occurred during the scrum phase of play.
The incidence of rugby-related catastrophic injuries in South Africa between 2008 and 2011 is comparable to that of other countries and to most other collision sports. The higher incidence rate of permanent ASCIs at the Senior level could be related to the different law variations or characteristics (eg, less regular training) compared with the Junior level. The hooker and scrum were associated with high proportions of permanent ASCIs. The BokSmart injury prevention programme should focus efforts on these areas (Senior level, hooker and scrum) and use this study as a reference point for the evaluation of the effectiveness of the programme.
PMCID: PMC3586133  PMID: 23447464
22.  Web-based guided self-help for employees with depressive symptoms (Happy@Work): design of a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:61.
Depressive disorders are highly prevalent in the working population and are associated with excessive costs for both society and companies. Effective treatment for employees with depressive symptoms in occupational health care is limited. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an indicated preventive web-based guided self-help course for employees with depressive symptoms.
The study is a two-arm randomized controlled trial comparing a web-based guided self-help course with care-as-usual. The self-help course consists of 6 weekly lessons. Weekly support will be provided by a coach via the website. Subjects in the care-as-usual group do not receive any treatment in addition to regular care. 200 white collar workers from several national and international companies in the Netherlands will be recruited via different methods such as banners on the company’s intranet, pamphlets and posters. Subjects will be included when they: have elevated depressive symptoms (score ≥16 on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale), are 18 years of age or older, have access to the Internet and can be contacted via e-mail. Exclusion criteria are: partial or full work absenteeism, a legal labor dispute with the employer and receiving treatment from the company’s occupational health care at study entrance.
The primary outcome is depressive symptoms. Secondary outcomes include work absenteeism, work performance, burnout, anxiety, quality of life, health care use and production losses. Outcome data will be collected at 8 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months after baseline. Analyses will be based on the intention-to-treat principle. The cost-effectiveness analyses will be performed from a societal and a company’s perspective. A process evaluation will be conducted alongside the study.
This study evaluates the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a web-based guided self-help course for employees with depressive symptoms. This study could stimulate the use of e-mental health interventions in the worksite setting.
Trial registration
Nederlands Trial Register (NTR): TC2993
PMCID: PMC3599070  PMID: 23418886
Internet; Depression; Absenteeism; Employees; Occupational therapy; Self-help; Cognitive therapy; Problem solving; Randomized trial.
23.  Can Multiple Lifestyle Behaviours Be Improved in People with Familial Hypercholesterolemia? Results of a Parallel Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e50032.
To evaluate the efficacy of an individualised tailored lifestyle intervention on physical activity, dietary intake, smoking and compliance to statin therapy in people with Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH).
Adults with FH (n = 340) were randomly assigned to a usual care control group or an intervention group. The intervention consisted of web-based tailored lifestyle advice and face-to-face counselling. Physical activity, fat, fruit and vegetable intake, smoking and compliance to statin therapy were self-reported at baseline and after 12 months. Regression analyses were conducted to examine between-group differences. Intervention reach, dose and fidelity were assessed.
In both groups, non-significant improvements in all lifestyle behaviours were found. Post-hoc analyses showed a significant decrease in saturated fat intake among women in the intervention group (β = −1.03; CI −1.98/−0.03). In the intervention group, 95% received a log on account, of which 49% logged on and completed one module. Nearly all participants received face-to-face counselling and on average, 4.2 telephone booster calls. Intervention fidelity was low.
Individually tailored feedback is not superior to no intervention regarding changes in multiple lifestyle behaviours in people with FH. A higher received dose of computer-tailored interventions should be achieved by uplifting the website and reducing the burden of screening questionnaires. Counsellor training should be more extensive.
Trial Registration
Dutch Trial Register NTR1899
PMCID: PMC3520968  PMID: 23251355
24.  Physical and psychosocial benefits of yoga in cancer patients and survivors, a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:559.
This study aimed to systematically review the evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and to conduct a meta-analysis of the effects of yoga on physical and psychosocial outcomes in cancer patients and survivors.
A systematic literature search in ten databases was conducted in November 2011. Studies were included if they had an RCT design, focused on cancer patients or survivors, included physical postures in the yoga program, compared yoga with a non-exercise or waitlist control group, and evaluated physical and/or psychosocial outcomes. Two researchers independently rated the quality of the included RCTs, and high quality was defined as >50% of the total possible score. Effect sizes (Cohen’s d) were calculated for outcomes studied in more than three studies among patients with breast cancer using means and standard deviations of post-test scores of the intervention and control groups.
Sixteen publications of 13 RCTs met the inclusion criteria, of which one included patients with lymphomas and the others focused on patients with breast cancer. The median quality score was 67% (range: 22–89%). The included studies evaluated 23 physical and 20 psychosocial outcomes. Of the outcomes studied in more than three studies among patients with breast cancer, we found large reductions in distress, anxiety, and depression (d = −0.69 to −0.75), moderate reductions in fatigue (d = −0.51), moderate increases in general quality of life, emotional function and social function (d = 0.33 to 0.49), and a small increase in functional well-being (d = 0.31). Effects on physical function and sleep were small and not significant.
Yoga appeared to be a feasible intervention and beneficial effects on several physical and psychosocial symptoms were reported. In patients with breast cancer, effect size on functional well-being was small, and they were moderate to large for psychosocial outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3571972  PMID: 23181734
Yoga; Randomized controlled trial; Physical function; Psychosocial function; Quality of life; Cancer
25.  Mediators of the effect of the JUMP-in intervention on physical activity and sedentary behavior in Dutch primary schoolchildren from disadvantaged neighborhoods 
Important health benefits can be achieved when physical activity in children from low socio-economic status is promoted and sedentariness is limited. By specifying the mediating mechanisms of existing interventions one can improve future physical activity interventions. This study explored potential mediators of the long-term effect of the school-based multicomponent JUMP-in intervention on sport participation, outdoor play and screen time in Dutch primary schoolchildren from disadvantaged neighborhoods.
In total, 600 primary schoolchildren (aged 9.8 ± 0.7, 51% girls, 13% Dutch ethnicity, 35% overweight) from 9 intervention and 10 control schools were included in the analyses. JUMP-in was developed using Intervention Mapping, and targeted psychological and environmental determinants of physical activity. Outcome behaviors were self-reported sport participation, outdoor play, TV-viewing behavior and computer use. Potential mediators were self-reported psychological, social and physical environmental factors.
JUMP-in was effective in improving sport participation after 20 months, but not in improving outdoor play, or reducing TV-viewing or computer time. JUMP-in was not effective in changing hypothesized mediators so no significant mediated effects could be identified. However, changes in self-efficacy, social support and habit strength were positively associated with changes in sport participation, and changes in social support, self-efficacy, perceived planning skills, enjoyment and habit strength were positively associated with changes in outdoor play. Changes in enjoyment was positively associated with changes in TV-viewing while parental rules were negatively associated. Having a computer in the bedroom and enjoyment were positively associated with changes in computer use, while changes in parental rules were negatively associated.
Besides a significant positive effect on sports participation, no significant intervention effect on outdoor play, screen time or any of the potential mediators was found. This suggest that other (unmeasured) factors operated as mediating mechanisms of the intervention, that we used unsuccessful intervention strategies, that the strategies were inappropriately implemented, or that children are unable to accurately recall past activities and cognitions. Additionally, the school setting might not be the sole channel to influence leisure time activities. Still, several personal and environmental constructs were found to be relevant in predicting change in sport participation, outdoor play and screen behavior and seem to be potential mediators. Future interventions are recommended including more effective strategies targeting these relevant constructs, addressing different constructs (e.g. pedagogic skills of parents), and focusing on different implementation settings.
Trail registration
PMCID: PMC3541111  PMID: 23130806
Mediating; Working mechanisms; Youth; Intervention; Physical activity; Sport; Sedentary; Sitting; Television

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