'Office of the future' = weight loss

Aug. 4, 2008 at 12:17 AM
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MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- A study of a real-life U.S. office re-engineered to increase daily physical activity resulted in employee weight loss and more profits, researchers said.

The six-month study of non-exercise activity thermogenesis, known as NEAT, at SALO LLC, a financial staffing firm based in Minneapolis, involved 45 employee volunteers -- 18 were studied for weight loss and other changes.

The re-engineering included removing chairs and traditional desk seating, introducing walking tracks, encouraging staff to conduct meetings while walking, replacing traditional phones with mobile sets, adding desks attached to treadmills, introducing games in the workplace, providing high-tech activity monitors and advising staff about nutrition.

Mayo Clinic endocrinologist Dr. James Levine said the 18 participants lost a total of 156 pounds, 143 of that in body fat. Individuals lost an average of 8.8 pounds -- 90 percent was fat.

Triglycerides decreased by an average of 37 percent and the nine participants who had expressed a desire to lose weight lost an average of 15.4 pounds.

Another key finding was that no productivity was lost. In fact, company officials said revenue rose nearly 10 percent during the first three months of the study, and the company recorded its highest-ever monthly revenue in January 2008 -- the study's midpoint.

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