16 Mar Cochrane Study Reviews Workplace Interventions For Reducing Sitting at Work
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Nipun Shrestha MBBS, MPH
Health Research and Social Development Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu, Nepal
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: These days our work in the offices isn’t the same as it used to be. Almost everybody is working with a computer nowadays and that makes you sit still all day. We do not need to move from our chair to do most of the things. This is not just the case in developed countries but for developing countries as well.
One would argue though we are sitting in the office hours but we are regularly doing lots of exercises. However researchers have found that sedentary behavior is an independent risk factor for many chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. So breaking up time that we spend sitting is important.
There are many commercial innovations available in the market which are being advertised heavily by the manufacturers. The evidence on effectiveness of such innovation is however not available.
We found that there is limited evidence on effectiveness of interventions that aim to reduce sitting at work. There is some evidence that sit-stand desk may reduce sitting at work between 30 minutes to 2 hours without any adverse effects.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: These days, it is common for clinicians to encounter patients whose profession demands sedentary lifestyle. Such patients present with back problems, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. The clinicians should ask their patients to decrease sitting and may recommend to use the available interventions like sit-stand desks. However people should also understand that these desks might not be enough for them to reduce obesity. They should try to be active and keep regular exercise both at work and outside work.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We have to find out how we can best reduce sitting at work and increase activity. It might be that it is standing but it can also be that we have to organize work in a different innovative way. Standing is still very inactive and probably won’t counterbalance the effects of sitting very much. We need bigger studies with at least hundreds of participants and a longer follow-up time from one to several years to find out what happens when we reduce sitting.
Since changes in desk like sit-stand desk are expensive and not everyone can afford it, effectiveness of low cost interventions like standing or walking meetings or simply putting the printer at the far end of the corridor should be assessed as an alternative. We also need to design interventions for people who have low back pain or elderly people who cannot stand for longer duration.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Using sit-stand desk can have some adverse effects as well such as an increase in back pain or varicose veins or being more tired at the end of the day.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Shrestha N, Ijaz S, Kukkonen-Harjula KT, Kumar S, Nwankwo CP. Workplace interventions for reducing sitting at work. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD010912. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010912.pub2
Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.
Dr Nipun Shrestha (2016).
Cochrane Study Reviews Workplace Interventions For Reducing Sitting at Work