Expert recommendations on sedentary offices

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An expert statement on the impact of prolonged sitting in the office has been published today by the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM).

The statement, The Sedentary Office: a growing case for change towards better health and productivity, includes one of the most comprehensive sets of recommendations published to date on breaking up sedentary activity in the workplace.

The statement, commissioned by Public Health England and Active Working and written by experts from the UK, Europe, USA and Australia, recommends office workers build up to two-hours per day of standing and light activity, progressing towards four hours per day.

In the past five years, an accelerated amount of evidence has been published on the links between sedentary living, including time at work, and the leading causes of morbidity and mortality (cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers).

Gavin Bradley, director and founder of Active Working, said: “British people sit on average for 8.9 hours each day and 70% of sitting time is at work. International research now provides compelling evidence that prolonged sitting has major health impacts and we are delighted people now have access to some clear and concise expert recommendations that can go hand in hand with the accelerating promotion of more active work-places and adjustable furniture”.

The expert statement also identified sit-stand desks as highly recommended and stated that, similar to prolonged static seated positions, prolonged static standing postures should also be avoided.

Professor John Buckley, lead author of the expert statement, said: “Recent research findings on sedentary behaviour now generate regular mainstream media attention. This is the beginning of an exciting journey, where business and science need to share in the much needed significant investments to promote and deliver better health and productivity by preventing large swathes of workers spending most of their working day sitting down.”

In Scandinavia 90% of of?ce workers have the choice of using sit-stand desks compared to less than 1% in the UK. 

The longest-running scientific experiment into standing desks to date has however been launched by the University of Chester and Virgin Media. Twenty-four employees at Virgin Media’s Sheffield contact centre have volunteered to use adjustable sit-stand desks and stay on their feet for a minimum of two hours each day. 

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