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team photo standing and sitting with Jeremy, Jenny, Simon, Kirsty & Chris

Standing ‘no healthier than sitting’

A study carried out by researchers from the University of Exeter, University College London, and the University of Sydney (Australia) has assessed the association between sitting time and risk of dying.

The study featured more than 5,000 civil servants who provided information on their average sitting time, completing different activities such as working, watching TV, or other leisure activities occurring in the late 1990s.

The UK respondents were studied for 16 years, to see if there was a correlation between their sitting time and an increase in risk of dying from any cause. The results showed no significant association between sitting time and risk of death.

The study sample only included white collar employees, and the majority of the participants were Londoners. This particular region tend to walk and stand more as a result of the challenges posed by public transport in the capital. This means the results may not be applicable to other parts of the country.

Limitations aside, does this mean expensive standing work stations and desks are a waste of money? The lead author (Melvyn Hillsdon) seems to think so “he results cast doubt on the benefits of sit-stand work stations.”

Ultimately, simply standing up is no substitute for the moderate to vigorous exercise regime recommended for healthy adults. It could be the case employers are better off investing in gym membership than new desks for their employees.

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