|Title||The Sedentary Office: a growing case for change towards better health and productivity. Expert statement commissioned by Public Health England and the Active Working Community Interest Company|
|Authors||Buckley, J, et al.|
|Journal||British Journal of Sports Medicine|
|Web Link||Click here|
Why they did it?
Recent evidence suggests that spending prolonged periods of the day sitting may have some health risks, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, obesity and poor musculoskeletal health. Importantly, some studies have shown that the risks of prolonged sitting at work occur even when a person engages in regular moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA). This suggests that for optimal health, adults should reduce sitting as well as doing regular MVPA. The workplace is one setting in which an adult may accumulate high volumes of sitting. On average, Australian adults sit for nearly 9 hours per day, and over half of this sitting occurs at the workplace (3). There are currently no guidelines or scientific evidence on how much sitting at work is harmful to health (1). The aim of this paper was to describe the current evidence, and come to a consensus around what is considered ‘too much’ siting at work.
How they did it?
For this review article a panel of current experts in the field of sedentary behaviour and health were brought together to produce a set of evidence-based guidelines. Current scientific research on the health consequences of sitting in the workplace was collated together and discussed. Each study was ranked for quality of research on a 4-point scale by the panel in order to interpret the most current data. The research reviewed was generated from three study designs; (i) large population-based longitudinal studies that tracked participants for an average of 12 years and (ii) observational studies, and (iii) acute intervention laboratory-based studies.
What they found?
Longitudinal studies showed that beneficial health outcomes occurred among employees who replaced workplace sitting by two hours a day with standing and/or light-intensity activity. However, reducing sitting by 4 or more hours a day was shown to have further health benefits. Supporting research generated from laboratory-based studies shows that reducing sitting has favourable effects on cardiometabolic biomarkers associated with diabetes (e.g. glucose and insulin). At present the research is insufficient to back up the financial case for reducing workplace-based factors such as productivity loss, absenteeism and healthcare costs.
Ok, what does this mean to me?
This is the first set of recommendations to specifically quantify that reducing sitting by 2-4 hours/day may reduce the negative health risks associated with prolonged sitting at work. In addition to promoting regular MVPA, fitness trainers may inform clients who commonly sit at work of the benefits breaking up long bouts of sitting time and to minimise the total time spent sitting. Some strategies to reduce total daily sitting may include, standing up during meetings or using a sit-to-stand desk while using a computer.