Physical activity of physiotherapists in Germany: a cross-sectional study

Bernhard Elsner*, Daniel Völker, Mario Heinzmann, Vera Rähmer, Joachim Kugler, Jan Mehrholz

*Corresponding author for this work


Aim: We aimed to quantify the work-related physical activity of physiotherapists in Germany. Subjects and methods: We included working physiotherapists aged between 18 and 65 years in Germany. We excluded physiotherapists working less than 20 h a week. We measured our primary outcome, work-related physical activity, by the average number of steps taken daily during work, standardized on an 8-h working day. We controlled the main outcome for potential confounders, such as working hours per week, age, weekday, and clinical setting (outpatient vs. inpatient), by multivariate linear regression analysis. We used R statistics for all statistical analyses. Results: We included 35 participants (7 outpatient and 28 inpatient), with a median age category of 20–29 years. Our participants had a mean work-related physical activity of 6614 steps (95% confidence interval, CI [6118; 7111]) per workday. Higher age, outpatient clinical setting, and working full time were associated with lower step count, but these associations were not statistically significant. Conclusions: The work-related physical activity of physiotherapists in Germany is comparable with results from other countries and can be regarded as ‘low’. Our result, however, might be affected by volunteer bias and gender effects. Further research should identify high-risk groups in the profession for cost-effective prevention.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Public Health (Germany)
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1339-1342
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 12.2021

Research Areas and Centers

  • Health Sciences

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-02 Public Health, Health Services Research and Social Medicine
  • 205-10 Toxicology, Occupational Medicine, Clinical Chemistry

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