OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of public health and human sciences

Arsenic and health to be focus of Corvallis Science Pub

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Once touted as a conditioner for the skin, arsenic has a long history as a poison and as an ingredient in paint, pesticides and wood preservatives. On June 8, the Corvallis Science Pub will focus on the modern public health story of this toxic metal.

Molly Kile, an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University, will describe her work in Bangladesh, the location of what the World Health Organization calls the largest case of mass poisoning. Kile looks at patterns of water contamination and disease to understand the risks of even low levels of arsenic in water.

The Science Pub presentation is free and open to the public. It begins at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, 341 S.W. 2nd St. in Corvallis.

“Contaminants like lead and arsenic have effects on the distribution of health problems across the population,” says Kile. “It’s not as much about the average person as it is about the people who are particularly vulnerable.”

An environmental epidemiologist, Kile has master’s and doctoral degrees from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Sponsors of Science Pub include Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

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Molly Kile, 541-737-1443

Statins show promise as a prevention tool for adults 75 and older, OSU study shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Statins could be a cost-effective tool for preventing heart attacks and other cardiovascular incidents in adults over age 75, but the benefits would need to be weighed against potential side effects, a study being published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine has found.

“Statins look promising as an intervention for this population, but there are concerns about potential physical or cognitive side effects,” said the study’s lead author, Michelle Odden, an assistant professor of epidemiology in OSU's College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

“It’s not all good or all bad; we’re in a gray area,” said Odden, who is affiliated with OSU’s Center for Healthy Aging Research. “That’s where patient preference becomes important. People who are concerned about the side effects should have a conversation with their health care provider.”

Researchers examined whether statins should be routinely given to older adults who are not already taking them as prevention against heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular events that can affect quality of life and drive up health care costs.

They used computer modeling to estimate the cost-effectiveness, including risks and benefits, of statin use among older adults. The findings indicated that statin use can help prevent cardiovascular incidents, but if that use increased the risk of physical or cognitive side effects by roughly 10 to 30 percent, any benefit from statins would be offset.

“We don’t know what the true risk is,” Odden said. “But we know statin use is very sensitive to these other risks in older populations.”

Statins are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease caused by high cholesterol. Many types of statins are available in generic form, which keeps drug costs low. Use of such drugs to prevent a significant cardiac event could reduce overall health care costs and improve the quality of life of older adults, Odden said.

More than 40 percent of adults over age 75 already are taking statins. However, medical guidelines for statin use are only for people who start taking statins when they are younger, up to age 75. The drugs are typically prescribed to people who have a history of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, diabetes or a high probability of a cardiovascular event within 10 years.

As people live longer and healthier lives, cardiovascular health prevention efforts may need to be adjusted to reflect differences that come with age. Statins seem like a promising option to prevent cardiovascular incidents among older adults, but they may not be beneficial if they introduce side effects such as muscle weakness and cognitive impairment, which are suggested to occur with statin use, Odden said.

“Physical and cognitive independence are two things that are very important to older adults,” she said. “Both conditions are so impactful that a small increase in risk may not be worth the gains in cardiovascular health.”

Additional research, including clinical trials using older adults, would be needed to better understand the benefits and risks of statin use in this population, Odden said. 

Co-authors of the study are Mark J. Pletcher, Pamela G. Coxson, David Guzman, David Heller, and Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo of the University of California, San Francisco; Lee Goldman of Columbia University; and Divya Thekkethala of OSU. The research was supported by a grant from the American Heart Association Western States Affiliate and the National Institutes of Health.

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Michelle Odden, 541-737-3184 or michelle.odden@oregonstate.edu

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Michelle Odden

College Wide Photo Shoot Fall 2012

Portland workshop to explore modified toy cars for children with disabilities

PORTLAND, Ore. ­– Oregon State University will host a “Go Baby Go” workshop on Friday, May 1, in Portland, as part of a national program that provides modified, ride-on toy cars to young children with disabilities so they can move around independently.

The event is the first to be held in Portland since Go Baby Go expanded to OSU last year, and will be from noon to 4:30 p.m. at Jefferson High School. Spaces are still available, and attendance is free but advance registration is required.

Parents, volunteers and clinicians such as physical therapists will learn to adapt toy cars for children with a variety of special needs. Some cars also will be available for children and their families to test-drive and take home that day.

The modified cars give children with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other mobility disabilities a chance to play and socialize with their peers more easily, said Sam Logan, an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, and OSU leader of the Go Baby Go project.

Being pushed in a stroller or being carried from one place to another is fundamentally different from having active control over one’s own exploration, which is where the developmental gains are seen, Logan said.

“We want to provide that movement experience as early as possible, so they can reap the benefits,” said Logan, whose research focuses on providing technology and training to children with disabilities to promote social mobility. “Beyond mobility and socialization, we hope that the ride-on cars provide children with disabilities a chance to just be a kid.”

There are no commercially available devices for children with mobility issues to get around on their own, and power wheelchairs usually aren’t an option until the children are older. The modified cars provide them independence at a much younger age and at a relatively low cost.

At the workshop, people can attend simply to get more information; to learn how to build a car; or even to build and take home a car at the end of the day. Parents who can’t attend the building workshop, but would like a car for their child, can arrive at 3 p.m. for a fitting and test-driving session with the child. 

Anyone interested in obtaining a car at the event is asked to purchase a car and switch in advance. All other supplies will be provided. For additional information about the car options and the switch needed, contact Logan at Sam.logan@oregonstate.edu. Families who need financial assistance to purchase a car should also contact Logan.

The workshop will be held in the Jefferson High School old gym, Room B24, 5210. N. Kerby Ave. Reservations must be submitted by Monday, April 27, to Logan and event coordinator Juli Valeske, jvaleske@pps.net.

Additional workshops are expected to be held in the Portland area in the coming months. Family members, clinicians or others interested in attending a future workshop or obtaining a car should contact Logan.

 

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Sam Logan, 541-737-3437, sam.logan@oregonstate.edu

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Sam Logan and volunteers modify a car.

GoBabyGo at Oregon State

Injury prevention programs not widely used in high schools, study shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Injury prevention programs can help reduce ankle, knee and other lower extremity injuries in sports, but the programs are not being widely used in high schools, a new study from Oregon State University has found.

Researchers surveyed 66 head soccer and basketball coaches from 15 Oregon high schools and found that only 21 percent of the coaches were using an injury prevention program, and less than 10 percent were using the program exactly as designed, said the study’s lead author, Marc Norcross, an assistant professor of exercise and sport science in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

“We know these programs are beneficial to the athletes,” Norcross said. “If I were to recommend something to coaches, it would be to adopt one of these programs and follow it.”

In 2013-14, more than 1.7 million students competed in high school soccer and basketball in the United States. During that period, about 335,000 of the athletes had a lower extremity injury that required medical attention and kept them from participating for at least one day.

The more serious injuries, such as an ACL tear, can require months of recovery and rehabilitation and can lead to early onset of arthritis. But even minor injuries such as an ankle sprain can have significant consequences, Norcross said. Ankle sprains, for example, increase the risk of arthritis developing in the joint.

Injury prevention programs are designed to help reduce lower extremity injuries that occur during play or practice but aren’t as a result of contact with another player. Among the better known-programs are PEP, developed by the Santa Monica Sports Medicine Foundation; and FIFA 11+, developed in conjunction with the world soccer organization.

While they can vary in structure and content, most injury prevention programs include often include similar activities, such as strength exercises, cutting/jumping drills and balance exercises with a focus on using proper technique.

In their study, OSU researchers wanted to find out whether high school coaches were aware of existing injury prevention programs, if they were using a program, and if not, why not. They focused on soccer and basketball because lower extremity injuries are common in those sports and they are not usually caused through direct contact with another player.

They found that about half of the boys and girls coaches surveyed were aware of existing injury prevention programs. Coaches of girls’ teams were more likely to be aware of the programs than coaches of boys’ teams. Also, less than half of the coaches perceived lower extremity injuries to be a problem for their team.

The findings were published recently in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. The research was funded by a grant from the Oregon School Activities Association Foundation. Co-authors of the study are Samuel Johnson, Viktor Bovbjerg and Mark Hoffman of OSU and Michael Koester of the Slocum Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Eugene.

While most coaches surveyed were not using a formal injury prevention program, about two-thirds of the coaches, or 65 percent, reported that they use activities similar to those found in such programs. That may be one reason they aren’t adopting a specific program, Norcross said.

But there hasn’t been any research yet to determine what, specifically, works about the injury programs. Researchers don’t know if it is specific components of the programs that lead to fewer injuries, or if it is the combination of several things.

“When a coach says, ‘I already do most of those things, isn’t that enough?’ – the answer is, we don’t know,” Norcross said. “Maybe that is good enough. We need to find that out.”

OSU researchers are now working on a related study that will examine high school athlete injury data in relation to coaches’ injury prevention practices. That should help researchers understand whether specific practices, or injury prevention programs as a whole, are helping to reduce injuries, Norcross said.

“For too long, we’ve been waiting for the perfect program to be developed,” he said. “There’s more we don’t know than we do. But we should use the little we do know while we continue to learn more.”

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Marc Norcross, 541-737-6788, marc.norcross@oregonstate.edu

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College Wide Photo Shoot Fall 2012

Exercise largely absent from U.S. medical school curriculum, study shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Exercise may play a critical role in maintaining good health, but fewer than half of the physicians trained in the United States in 2013 received formal education or training on the subject, according to new research from Oregon State University.

A review of medical school curriculums showed that a majority of U.S. institutions did not offer any courses on physical activity, and when the courses were offered, they were rarely required, said Brad Cardinal, a professor of exercise and sport science in OSU's College of Public Health and Human Sciences. That could leave doctors ill-prepared to assist patients who could benefit from exercise, said Cardinal, the study's lead author.

“There are immense medical benefits to exercise; it can help as much as medicine to address some health concerns,” said Cardinal, who is a national expert on the benefits of physical activity. “Because exercise has medicinal as well as other benefits, I was surprised that medical schools didn’t spend more time on it.”

An article on the findings has been accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Physical Activity and Health. Co-authors are Eugene A. Park and MooSong Kim of OSU, and Marita K. Cardinal of Western Oregon University. The study was supported by OSU.

For the study, researchers reviewed U.S. medical schools’ websites, looking for all physical activity-related coursework. They reviewed both public and private schools, and schools of medicine and osteopathic medicine. In all, 118 of the 170 accredited schools had curriculum information available online.

Of those, 51 percent offered no physical activity related coursework, and 21 percent offered only one course. And 82 percent of the schools reviewed did not require students to take any physical activity-related courses.

Schools may be spending more time on the topic than appears in the published curriculum, but the absence of physical activity in those documents suggests exercise education is not formalized or institutionalized to the degree it ought to be, given its role in helping people stay healthy, Cardinal said.

“I’m an outsider looking in, and I was expecting to see more than what we did,” he said.

Lifestyle-related chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes are among the leading causes of death and disability, and one of the most important ways to prevent such chronic diseases is through regular physical activity participation, he said.

Physicians play a significant and influential role in encouraging and assisting patients who need or are trying to get more exercise, but past research has shown that many physicians lack the education, skills or confidence to educate and counsel patients about their physical activity, Cardinal said.

“Understanding why and how to exercise, and knowing how to help people who are struggling to make it a habit, is really important,” he said.

This issue is gaining more attention nationally.The American College of Sports Medicine supports an “Exercise is Medicine” initiative, designed to encourage primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity in the treatment plans of their patients.

Exercise is also a key component of the U.S. government’s “Healthy People 2020” initiative to improve health across the nation, and the National Physical Activity Plan to increase physical activity for all Americans, Cardinal said.

If medical schools do not include physical activity education in their curriculums, physicians or other health care workers may need to find other ways to educate themselves about exercise and its role in keeping people healthy, or perhaps give the nod to other professionals who can, Cardinal said. 

“We really need to see something happen to address this,” he said. “How do we get it more institutionalized into medical school curriculum? This is a question researchers have been asking for 40 years now. It is about time we figured it out.”

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Brad Cardinal, 541-737-2506, brad.cardinal@oregonstate.edu

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Yoga class Faculty Staff Fitness

Study: Zinc deficiency linked to immune system response, particularly in older adults

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Zinc, an important mineral in human health, appears to affect how the immune system responds to stimulation, especially inflammation, new research from Oregon State University shows.

Zinc deficiency could play a role in chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes   that involve inflammation. Such diseases often show up in older adults, who are more at risk for zinc deficiency.

“When you take away zinc, the cells that control inflammation appear to activate and respond differently; this causes the cells to promote more inflammation,” said Emily Ho, a professor and director of the Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health in the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences, and lead author of the study.

Zinc is an essential micronutrient required for many biological processes, including growth and development, neurological function and immunity. It is naturally found in protein-rich foods such as meat and shellfish, with oysters among the highest in zinc content.

Approximately 12 percent of people in the U.S. do not consume enough zinc in their diets. Of those 65 and older, closer to 40 percent do not consume enough zinc, Ho said. Older adults tend to eat fewer zinc-rich foods and their bodies do not appear to use or absorb zinc as well, making them highly susceptible to zinc deficiency.

“It’s a double-whammy for older individuals,” said Ho, who also is a principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute.

In the study, researchers set out to better understand the relationship between zinc deficiency and inflammation. They conducted experiments that indicated zinc deficiency induced an increase in inflammatory response in cells. The researchers were able to show, for the first time, that reducing zinc caused improper immune cell activation and dysregulation of a cytokine IL-6, a protein that affects inflammation in the cell, Ho said.

Researchers also compared zinc levels in living mice, young and old. The older mice had low zinc levels that corresponded with increased chronic inflammation and decreased IL-6 methylation, which is an epigenetic mechanism that cells use to control gene expression. Decreased IL-6 methylation also was found in human immune cells from elderly people, Ho said.

Together, the studies suggest a potential link between zinc deficiency and increased inflammation that can occur with age, she said.

The findings were published recently in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. Co-authors are Carmen P. Wong and Nicole A. Rinaldi of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. The research was supported by the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, Bayer Consumer Care AG of Switzerland, and OSU.

Understanding the role of zinc in the body is important to determining whether dietary guidelines for zinc need to be adjusted. The recommended daily intake of zinc for adults is 8 milligrams for women and 11 milligrams for men, regardless of age. The guidelines may need to be adjusted for older adults to ensure they are getting enough zinc, Ho said.

There is no good clinical biomarker test to determine if people are getting enough zinc, so identifying zinc deficiency can be difficult. In addition, the body does not have much ability to store zinc, so regular intake is important, Ho said. Getting too much zinc can cause other problems, including interfering with other minerals. The current upper limit for zinc is 40 milligrams per day.

“We think zinc deficiency is probably a bigger problem than most people realize,” she said. “Preventing that deficiency is important.”

Understanding why older adults do not take in zinc as well is an important area for future research, Ho said. Additional research also is needed to better understand how zinc works in the body, she said.

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Emily Ho, 541-737-9559, Emily.ho@oregonstate.edu

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Oysters are high in zinc Oysters high in zinc

Emily Ho Emily Ho

People with disabilities experience unrecognized health disparities

CORVALLIS, Ore. – People with disabilities have unmet medical needs and poorer overall health throughout their lives, and as a result should be recognized as a health disparity group so more attention can be directed to improving their quality of life, a team of policy researchers has found.

“Many of the health concerns of people with disabilities, including diabetes, heart disease and obesity, are largely preventive and unrelated to the disability,” said Gloria Krahn of Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences. Krahn is lead author on a new paper advocating the recognition.

“There’s no overt reason, based on the diagnosed condition, that people with disabilities should have higher rates of these diseases,” said Krahn, the Barbara E. Knudson Endowed Chair in Family Policy and a professor of practice in public health at OSU. “There may always be some disparity in health because of a person’s disability, but people can have disabilities and also be healthy.”

The researchers’ findings were published this month in an article in the “American Journal of Public Health.” Co-authors are Deborah Klein Walker of Abt Associates and Rosaly Correa-de-Araujo of the National Institutes of Health. The article was based on research conducted primarily while Krahn was working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People with significant disabilities – defined federally as functional limitations of movement, vision, hearing or problem-solving – make up about 12 percent of the U.S. population. Reducing the incidence of preventable diseases in this population could lead to improved quality of life as well as significant reductions in health care costs, Krahn said.

Race and ethnicity are used to define health disparity populations by state and federal governments. Disability is not recognized as a disparity population, even though people with disabilities are, on average, in poorer health than the rest of the population. Adults with disabilities are 2.5 times more likely to report skipping or delaying health care because of costs and they have higher rates of chronic disease than the general population, for example.

Establishing disability as a health disparity group is a way of bringing attention to a group that clearly has unmet needs, Krahn said.

The researchers suggest that recognizing people with disabilities as a health disparity population could lead to:

  • Improved access to health care and human services for the disabled;
  • Increased data on the disabled population, aiding in policy-making;
  • Added training for health care providers, strengthening the workforce and improving care for the disabled;
  • Improved public health programs that are designed to be inclusive of people with disabilities;
  • Enhanced emergency-preparedness; people with disabilities can be especially vulnerable in emergency or disaster situations.

A focus on the health disparity could lead to creation of health promotion materials that are accessible to people with disabilities; development of weight-loss or smoking cessation programs to serve the disabled; and emergency evacuation and shelter training for people with disabilities, Krahn suggested.

“To say that disability is a health disparity will mark a significant shift in approach toward health care of people with disabilities,” Krahn said. “It would influence public health practice, research and policy.”

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Gloria Krahn, 541-737-3605, Gloria.krahn@oregonstate.edu

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Smoke-free campus policy enjoys wide support, new OSU research shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Students, faculty and staff at Oregon State University have largely embraced a new policy that prohibits smoking on the Corvallis campus, but the policy change hasn’t completely eliminated secondhand smoke exposure, new research shows.

A campus-wide study of the first year of the university’s smoke-free policy showed that 72 percent of students and 77 percent of faculty were in support of the new policy, which took effect in September 2012. That number is expected to rise as people become accustomed to the policy, said Marc Braverman, a professor and Extension specialist in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU and the study’s lead author.

“The more people live with the change, the more supportive they tend to become,” Braverman said. “We’re not trying to force smokers to quit. We’re trying to address the health concerns brought on by secondhand smoke. This is a clean air policy.”

However, about 77 percent of students and 55 percent of faculty and staff who responded to a survey on the policy reported that they had encountered secondhand smoke near the periphery of the campus within the previous two weeks. In addition, 29 percent of students and 18 percent of faculty and staff said they had been exposed to secondhand smoke near a building entrance on campus in that same time period.

The shift of smoking to campus boundaries is to be expected if people are following the policy, and other universities have experienced the same problem, Braverman said. One of the next steps is figuring out how to reduce the impact of that shift, both in terms of secondhand smoke exposure and other issues, including an increase in cigarette butts and other trash in common smoking locations just off campus.

Findings from the study were published in the February issue of the journal, “Preventive Medicine.” Co-authors are Lisa Hoogesteger, director of OSU’s Healthy Campus Initiatives, and Jessica Johnson, who was a graduate student in public health when the research was conducted. The study was supported by OSU and a grant from PacificSource Health Plans.

Researchers wanted to evaluate the policy implementation because more and more colleges and universities are adopting smoke-free or tobacco-free campus policies, Braverman said. When the idea was initially proposed at OSU in 2008, only 130 campuses nationwide were smoke-free or tobacco-free. As of last month, that number has jumped to 1,500 campuses, according to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, an advocacy group that tracks tobacco policies nationwide.

“It’s gotten to be quite a popular movement, but there is not a lot of information about the best ways to implement a policy like this or what a campus should expect when it does,” Braverman said.

In spring 2013, after almost a full academic year with the policy in place, the researchers invited all students, staff and faculty at OSU’s Corvallis campus to take a web-based survey. More than 5,600 students and 2,000 faculty and staff members responded.

The research team found that there was widespread awareness of the policy change: 89 percent of nonsmoking students and 90 percent of smoking students knew OSU was a nonsmoking campus, while 92 percent of nonsmoking faculty and staff and 99 percent of smoking faculty and staff knew about the policy.

The survey results offer a snapshot of how the policy has been received. Researchers cannot say whether the policy had more or less support at the time of the survey than when it was first enacted because they do not have comparable survey results from that prior point in time.

Survey results showed that nonsmokers were much more likely to favor the policy than smokers. Researchers also found that women were more supportive of the policy than men; international students were more supportive than students from the U.S.; and students who live in a residence hall or belong to a fraternity or sorority were somewhat less likely to support the policy.

While support for the policy was widespread, only 22 percent of students and 29 percent of faculty and staff said they would ask a smoker to put out a cigarette if they saw somebody smoking on campus.

“Enforcement poses some logistical challenges,” Hoogesteger said. “And there are going to be people who challenge the policy.”

Adding signage about the new policy across campus and continuing to educate people about the policy are two ways to help ensure the policy is followed, Hoogesteger said. Secondhand smoke exposure and increased trash in areas near campus boundaries are concerns that need addressing. The university, in conjunction with state and local health officials, also offers resources to help people quit smoking, if they choose to, the researchers said.

More information about Oregon State’s smoke-free policy, including a summary of the study, is available online at www.oregonstate.edu/smokefree.

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Marc Braverman, 541-737-1021, marc.braverman@oregonstate.edu; Lisa Hoogesteger, 541-737-3343, lisa.hoogesteger@oregonstate.edu

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Treadmill desks offer limited benefits, pose challenges in the workplace, study shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Treadmill desks can help overweight or obese office workers get out of their chairs and get moving, but a 12-week study by an Oregon State University researcher found that the increase in physical activity was small and did not help workers meet public health guidelines for daily exercise.

Introducing treadmill desks in the workplace also can pose logistical challenges that may not make such a program feasible for companies, said John M. Schuna, Jr., an assistant professor of exercise and sports science in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU.

In a small study of treadmill desk use by overweight and obese office workers, Schuna and his colleagues found that workers who used the desks increased their average number of daily steps by more than 1,000, but did not record any significant weight loss or changes in Body Mass Index after 12 weeks. The employees only used the treadmills about half the time they were asked to, averaging one session and 45 minutes a day on the machines, Schuna said.

“Treadmill desks aren’t an effective replacement for regular exercise, and the benefits of the desks may not justify the cost and other challenges that come with implementing them,” Schuna said.

His findings were published recently in the “Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.” Co-authors include Damon L. Swift of East Carolina University and several researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The research was supported by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.

Treadmill desks have been gaining popularity as a solution for helping sedentary workers out of their desk chairs during the work day. Schuna and his colleagues wanted to evaluate the effectiveness of such desks in changing workers’ behavior.

“There’s been a societal shift to more sedentary work and we are not making it up in our leisure time,” Schuna said. “We were trying to identify ways we could increase physical activity and combat the decline in occupational physical activity we’ve seen in the past 50 years.”

The study targeted overweight and obese office workers whose jobs at a private health insurance company required continuous desk work. About 40 employees participated in the 12-week study, with half using the treadmills and the other half serving as a control group for comparison.

While the participants who used treadmills did increase their daily step counts, they tended, on average, to walk at about 1.8 miles an hour, a speed that would generally be considered light intensity physical activity. Public health guidelines suggest adults need 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity several days a week.

“This was not moderate-intensity exercise,” Schuna said. “One of the challenges with the treadmill desk is that it needs to be lower-intensity activity so employees can still perform their work duties.”

There may be cardiovascular or other benefits when people begin increasing their steps, even in small amounts at low intensity, but reversing the effects of a sedentary lifestyle would likely require more activity, including moderate or vigorous exercise, he said.

Researchers faced several challenges with the study, including difficulty recruiting employees to participate. Initially, more than 700 employees of the company were targeted for recruitment, with roughly 10 percent of them expressing interest in participating. Some of those employees were deemed ineligible for the study for a variety of reasons, while others did not receive approval from a supervisor.

They also found work considerations often kept employees from using the desks, even though the company had approved and encouraged employees to participate in the program. Employees shared the treadmill desks, which required scheduling the time they would be using them.

Schuna said the findings from this study indicate that future research on exercise in the workplace should focus on interventions that avoid some of the pitfalls that come with treadmill desks.

“We need to identify some form of physical activity that can be done simply and at a low cost in an office setting,” he said.

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John Schuna, 541-737-1536, john.schuna@oregonstate.edu

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Office treadmill Exercise

OSU’s Center for Healthy Aging Research seeks volunteers for research registry

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Center for Healthy Aging Research at Oregon State University is recruiting volunteers to join a registry for possible participation in future studies related to the health and well-being of middle-aged and older adults.

People age 50 and older who live in Oregon are invited to sign up for the LIFE Registry. Those who join the registry will receive information about opportunities to participate in OSU research. Joining the registry does not obligate volunteers to be in any study.

The registry provides OSU researchers affiliated with the Center for Healthy Aging Research with contact information for people who may be interested in participating in studies or are a good match for a particular study. When a registry member is contacted, they will receive information about a study and then can decide whether or not to participate.

The registry is used by about 40 OSU faculty members affiliated with the Center for Healthy Aging Research. Studies conducted by faculty affiliated with the center might involve biological processes, exercise, balance, diet, families, psychological processes or new technologies for helping older adults to age in their own homes. Registry members have participated in several studies related to driving, for example, including research on the understandability of traffic signs and using back-up cameras.

Studies vary in length; some can be completed in less than an hour while others may last for several months or more. Depending on the type and nature of the research, studies may completed online or over the phone, or they may take place on the OSU campus, in the community or in the volunteer’s home.

The registry includes about 500 people now and organizers would like to add 500 more volunteers. The goal is to include volunteers of all backgrounds and there are no health requirements. Registry information is confidential and will be released only to Center for Healthy Aging Research faculty and their staff.

For more information about the registry, visit http://bit.ly/15v5NF9 and fill out the online volunteer form. Interested volunteers may also call 541-737-4993.

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Holly Lenz, 541-737-4993, holly.lenz@oregonstate.edu