Identifying the sociodemographic and work-related factors related to workers' daily physical activity using a decision tree approach

Publication type
Journal article
Biswas A, Chen C, Dobson KG , Prince SA, Shahidi FV, Smith PM, Fuller D
Date published
2023 Sep 01
BMC Public Health
Open Access?

BACKGROUND: The social and behavioural factors related to physical activity among adults are well known. Despite the overlapping nature of these factors, few studies have examined how multiple predictors of physical activity interact. This study aimed to identify the relative importance of multiple interacting sociodemographic and work-related factors associated with the daily physical activity patterns of a population-based sample of workers. METHODS: Sociodemographic, work, screen time, and health variables were obtained from five, repeated cross-sectional cohorts of workers from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (2007 to 2017). Classification and Regression Tree (CART) modelling was used to identify the discriminators associated with six daily physical activity patterns. The performance of the CART approach was compared to a stepwise multinomial logistic regression model. RESULTS: Among the 8,909 workers analysed, the most important CART discriminators of daily physical activity patterns were age, job skill, and physical strength requirements of the job. Other important factors included participants' sex, educational attainment, fruit/vegetable intake, industry, work hours, marital status, having a child living at home, computer time, and household income. The CART tree had moderate classification accuracy and performed marginally better than the stepwise multinomial logistic regression model. CONCLUSION: Age and work-related factors-particularly job skill, and physical strength requirements at work-appeared as the most important factors related to physical activity attainment, and differed based on sex, work hours, and industry. Delineating the hierarchy of factors associated with daily physical activity may assist in targeting preventive strategies aimed at promoting physical activity in workers