October 2019

A team from the German Hannover Medical School screened 543 workers in the main Volkswagen factory in a prospective, randomised, parallel-group, and assessor-blind study to test the effect of regular telemonitoring-supported physical activity on metabolic syndrome severity and work ability.

314 were randomly assigned to receive the intervention and 154 to a waiting list. Participants in the exercise group received individual recommendations for exercise at face-to-face meetings and via a smartphone application, with the aim of doing 150 min physical activity per week. Activities were supervised and adapted using activity-monitor data, which were transferred to a central database. Participants in the control group continued their current lifestyle and were informed about the possibility to receive the supervised intervention after study completion.

The mean metabolic syndrome Z score for the exercise group was significantly reduced after the 6-month intervention period compared with the control group They documented 11 adverse events in the exercise group, with only one event (a twisted ankle) regarded as directly caused by the intervention.

This form of intervention showed significant potential to reduce disease risk, while also improving mental health, work ability, and productivity-related outcomes for employees at high risk for cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

Lancet Public Health. 2019 Jun 13. pii: S2468-2667(19)30075-1. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(19)30075-1.