Does increasing light physical activity improve glucose control in truck drivers?

Arizona State University School of Nutrition and Health Promotion
Phoenix, Arizona
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About This Project

Diabetes in Trucking is 50% higher than the national average and may be linked to high levels of sedentary behavior. Interrupting prolonged sitting with standing and light activity has shown improved glucose control, however, the "sitting-conducive" environment poses many challenges. This study will test the glycemic effects of a user centered "move more" program specifically designed for truck drivers.

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What is the context of this research?

Sedentary behavior - any waking behavior in a seated or reclining posture with low energy expenditure(1) is now recognized as a unique health risk factor for cardiometabolic disease(2) and impaired glucose control (3)(4). Research shows that interrupting prolonged sitting via light physical activity (LPA) or standing may attenuate these adverse effects (4)(5)(6). Despite the surge in research examining effects of sit-stand/active workstations in office settings, evidence on the glycemic effects of vehicle based sitting and how to intervene is limited (7). There is need to develop user-centered experimental trials that target interrupting sitting and increasing light physcial activity in occupational drivers.

What is the significance of this project?

The prevalence of diabetes in the trucking population is 50% higher than the general population (8). The work environment poses more challenges than traditional office settings. Informed by extensive user feedback the "move more" program is designed to incorporate static muscle use while seated (e.g clenching muscles), light physical activity (during driving breaks) and tailored messaging to increase LPA and reduce sedentary behavior in truck drivers. We will measure glucose control dynamically every 5 minutes using a continuous glucose monitoring system and measure sedentary behavior objectively via an activPAL.

Our study will be the first to test the glycemic effects of reducing sedentary behavior in this high-risk population and challenging environment.

What are the goals of the project?

The funds will be used to purchase continuous glucose monitoring equipment, glucometer supplies, allow for the standardization of meals and provide incentives for participants.

Ultimately these funds will help us to test whether increasing light physical activity (during driving breaks) and incorporating static muscle contractions (e.g clenching muscles, while seated) can improve glucose control in occupational drivers.

We will also evaluate the feasibility, usability, and acceptability of the program via extensive user feedback and direct observation.


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To recruit and monitor upto 10 truck drivers for upto 3 days (to include a calibration day, control day and "move more" day).

To execute this project we will need 1 x iPro2 Continuous Glucose Monitoring CGM (IPro2) system and 10 x sensors. This system measures glucose levels every 5 minutes for up to 6 days. This is essential for real-time monitoring of truck driver behavior and glycemic response while on the road. The costs are based upon previous experience using the devices. We will also be using an existing device that we have. Glucometers and supplies are required to calibrate the CGM devices 3 x per day, this improves the accuracy of the readings.

Three standardized meals per day are required to allow for comparison betwen the control and "move more" day.

Finally, incentives for the truck drivers are required to aid both recruitment and compliance ($30 for completing both assessment days).

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I am really excited for Dr. Mullane and her new research project. I believe with her knowledge and experience in the field that this will be a great study with great results!

Meet the Team

Sarah Mullane
Sarah Mullane

Sarah Mullane

Transitioning from efficacious and effective trials to dissemination for public health benefit remains to be a challenge. My research activity is committed to overcoming this challenge via the development and application of user-centered strategies to promote and facilitate evidence-based behavior change, with particular focus on workplace sedentary behavior reduction strategies and T2D prevention (see 1-3 below). My goal is to become an independent biobehavioral scientist that applies both physiologica and behavioral evidence to design feasible, acceptable and cost effective interventions for diabetes prevention. Ultimately my career trajectory is aligned to conduct large scale, longitudinal studies of high ecological validity to expand knowledge that may inform public health recommendations.

Access my Research Gate Profile

1. Crespo NC, Mullane SL, Zeigler ZS, Gaesser GA, Buman MP. Effects of Standing and Light-Intensity Walking and Cycling on 24-h Blood Glucose. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise. June 2016. DOI 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001062

2. Mullane SL, Buman MP, Zeigler ZS, Crespo NC, Gaesser GA. Acute Effects on Cognitive Performance Following Bouts of Standing and Light Physical Activity in a Simulated Workplace Environment. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport / Sports Medicine Australia. Accepted Sept 2016. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2016.09.015.

3. Zeigler ZS, Mullane SL, Crespo NC, Buman MP, Gaesser GA. Effects of Standing and Light-Intensity Activity on Ambulatory Blood Pressure. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016 Feb;48(2):175-81. PubMed PMID: 26285021.

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