An updated Cochrane Review, published on 17th March 2016, says that the benefits of a variety of interventions intended to reduce sitting at work are very uncertain. Indeed the review concludes that the health effects of sit-stand desks and interventions aimed to reduce sitting at work are still unproven.
As we celebrate the Get Britain Standing campaign reaching its second anniversary, we take great pride in playing our part in growing the awareness of the major risks associated with long periods of sitting in particular the possibility of increasing the risks of heart disease and obesity. Many researchers, allied health care professionals, students and ergonomists have been inspired by our campaign but most importantly opinion is now shaping from the grassroots upwards that it just does not make sense for office workers to sit 7 - 8 hours at work.
At Active Working we are now developing a number of different approaches to reduce the amount of time we spend sitting down while at work. One option that is increasing in popularity is the sit-stand desk. These are desks that are designed to allow you to work at your desk sitting down or standing up.
A team of Cochrane researchers updated a systematic review that looked at the effects of different strategies to encourage people to reduce the amount of time they spend sitting at work. They looked at twenty studies with a total of 2,174 participants from the US, the UK and Europe. They included evidence from both randomised and non-randomised studies.
Co-author Jos Verbeek, from the Cochrane Work Review Group, Kuopio, Finland recently told me "Let me stress once more that I fully agree that inactivity at work is a still increasing and very serious public health problem".
In an interview with Fortune magazine Jos was quoted as follows:
“What we actually found is that most of it is, very much, just fashionable and not proven good for your health,”
What the media have picked up on is that standing at work is not the way forward, which is a my view great shame. How can anyone truly believe that Sitting for 8 hours a day is the way forward? As clearly presented at the Active Working Summit in January, the costs to public health, personal wellness, longevity of the workforce, productivity, engagement and absenteeism are so enormous the Active Working proposition now warrants both serious investment in large scale research interventions and minor investment by companies to begin their individual journey to combat sedentary working and hence begin to understand the issues and opportunities more closely.
We have recently launched the Active Working Wheel which breaks down the various elements to the subject so it can be more simply comprehended.