Promoting Physical Activity among Workers: A Review of Literature and Future Directions on Developing Theory-Based Interventions

Yan Sun, Yang Gao*, Siyue Yu, Aiwei Wang, Xiaoting Ou, Dan Tao, Julien S. Baker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Insufficient physical activity (PA) has been identified as a leading risk factor for premature and all-cause death, as well as non-communicable diseases. Employees, especially those with low occupational PA, are more vulnerable to physical inactivity, and studies in this population are scarce. However, employees may receive benefits for both health and work productivity from PA. Therefore, well-designed behavior change studies to promote PA in employees are urgently needed, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Literature was searched before 30 July 2022, and updated evidence was summarized. This review elaborates on the evidence related to insufficient PA and further provides an overview of theory-based interventions for promoting PA. Evidence indicates that intervention mapping (IM) was a useful tool to develop, implement, and evaluate behavior change interventions. Based on the IM framework, reviewing the theory- and evidence-based change methods and delivery modes, and further identifying the research gaps and limitations of existing interventions could provide promising suggestions and directions for development of well-founded interventions promoting PA among employees. The updated knowledge base for developing future interventions may boost efficacy and provide firm conclusions for researchers in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13594
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2022

User-Defined Keywords

  • insufficient physical activity
  • working adults
  • theory-based intervention
  • intervention mapping
  • theories
  • behavior change techniques
  • delivery modes


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