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Experts urge employers to combat impact of sedentary working


A group of academic experts is urging employers to combat the negative impact of prolonged sedentary office working.

The expert statement – The Sedentary Office – is being launched at today’s Active Working Summit, hosted by EY in London. It was commissioned by Public Health England and Active Working C.I.C.

Research focuses on breaking up sedentary tasks in the workplace. Recommendations include office workers building up from two hours to four hours per day of standing and light activity and regularly breaking up seated work with standing work.

The expert panel of academics also calls for increasing the use of desk stations that allow for periods of more prolonged standing. In Scandinavia, 90% of office workers have the choice of using sit-stand desks, compared to less than 1% in the UK.

Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, said: “Simple behaviour changes to break up long periods of sitting, such as walking to talk to a colleague rather than emailing, or holding standing meetings, can make a huge difference.”

Lead author of the expert statement John Buckley, professor of applied exercise science at the University of Chester, added: “Prolonged sedentary working leads to a signi?cant increase in the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, certain cancers, depression and muscle and joint problems.

“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.”