MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Fehmidah Munir CPsychol, AFBPsS
Reader in Health Psychology
Athena SWAN School Champion
School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences
National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Given the evidence of the harmful effects of high levels of sitting time on health and the high proportion of time the majority of adults spend in this behaviour, particularly in the workplace, methods to reduce overall and prolonged sitting were needed.
Our SMArT Work (Stand More AT Work) programme was delivered to NHS office workers and involved brief education about the impact of sitting on health and benefits of reducing sitting, feedback on sitting behaviour, providing staff with a height-adjustable desk to enable them to work either standing up or sitting down, motivational posters and brief chats with a researcher to see how they were getting on. They received this programme over 12 months.
We found that office workers in our study spent nearly 10 hours/day sitting down, which can be bad for health, but we’ve shown that those office workers who received our SMArT Work programme had lower sitting time by around 80mins per day after 12 months compared to those who didn’t receive our programme. Those who received SMArT Work also reported an increase in work engagement, job performance and quality of life and less musculoskeletal issues such as back and neck pain, they felt less tired after a day at work, had less feelings of anxiety and lower sickness presenteeism (working whilst sick). We didn’t find any differences in the number of days absent at work though. Whether you work remotely from home or in an office environment, it may also be good to invest in new Office Furniture. This could also help combat the issue of back and neck pains that you may be experiencing.