NIHR | January 2019 | Standing desks with a support package reduce time sitting at work
National Institute for Health Research reports how an office-based intervention involving a height-adjustable workstation and instruction package reduced the amount of time spent sitting for 146 NHS workers. Using a height- adjustable work station reduced time sat by between 60 to 90 minutes less per day at six and 12 months compared with the control group.
Sitting for long periods is a risk factor for ill health even in people meeting recommended levels of physical activity. Reducing time sitting at work could have health and economic benefits, but the evidence is limited. This trial was fairly small, involving 146 NHS workers. No firm conclusions can be drawn as to whether reduced sitting time may translate into effects on musculoskeletal health, work performance or sickness absence. However, the results are promising and will be important if shown to be effective and cost-effective for individuals and their employers when implemented more widely.
A larger NIHR-funded study involving council workers is underway which may provide further evidence and cost data.
Read the full Signal here
Edwardson, C. | 2018|Effectiveness of the Stand More AT (SMArT) Work intervention: cluster randomised controlled trial|BMJ|10.3310/signal-000717
To evaluate the impact of a multicomponent intervention (Stand More AT (SMArT) Work) designed to reduce sitting time on short (three months), medium (six months), and longer term (12 months) changes in occupational, daily, and prolonged sitting, standing, and physical activity, and physical, psychological, and work related health.
Cluster two arm randomised controlled trial. Setting National Health Service trust, England.
37 office clusters (146 participants) of desk based workers: 19 clusters (77 participants) were randomised to the intervention and 18 (69 participants) to control.
The intervention group received a height adjustable workstation, a brief seminar with supporting leaflet, workstation instructions with sitting and standing targets, feedback on sitting and physical activity at three time points, posters, action planning and goal setting booklet, self monitoring and prompt tool, and coaching sessions (month 1 and every three months thereafter). The control group continued with usual practice.
Main outcome measures
The primary outcome was occupational sitting time (thigh worn accelerometer). Secondary outcomes were objectively measured daily sitting, prolonged sitting (≥30 minutes), and standing time, physical activity, musculoskeletal problems, self reported work related health (job performance, job satisfaction, work engagement, occupational fatigue, sickness presenteeism, and sickness absenteeism), cognitive function, and self reported psychological measures (mood and affective states, quality of life) assessed at 3, 6, and 12 months. Data were analysed using generalised estimating equation models, accounting for clustering.
A significant difference between groups (in favour of the intervention group) was found in occupational sitting time at 12 months. Differences between groups (in favour of the intervention group compared with control) were observed for occupational sitting time at three months and six months and daily sitting time at six months and 12 months. Group differences (in favour of the intervention group compared with control) were found for prolonged sitting time, standing time, job performance, work engagement, occupational fatigue, sickness presenteeism, daily anxiety, and quality of life. No differences were seen for sickness absenteeism.
The full paper has been published in the BMJ