Better research needed on benefits of standing at work, analysis concludes

Kuopio, Finland – Reducing and breaking up the time people sit at work can help improve their health, but a new study found a lack of quality research into the effectiveness of interventions intended to reduce workplace sitting time.

Finnish researchers analyzed eight studies examining whether various workplace interventions aimed at reducing sitting time are effective. The studies featured 1,125 participants from Australia and Europe, and evaluated interventions that included sit-stand desks, computer prompts, walking breaks, information and counseling.

Researchers concluded that, in general, the studies produced low-quality evidence suggesting the interventions were effective. For example, a study showing that sit-stand desks reduced sitting time by 113 minutes every workday had a small number of participants. Further, studies looking into walking during breaks, information and counseling had inconsistent results.

The researchers who conducted the meta-analysis called for higher-quality research to assess intervention effectiveness, noting that sitting for long periods of time can contribute to cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes.

The research was published online Jan. 26 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.