People whose jobs are predominantly desk based should be encouraged to stand up and walk about for at least two hours during each working day, says the first UK guidance developed to reduce the health risks of prolonged sitting at work.
Growing evidence has shown links between a sedentary lifestyle and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.
To help reduce this risk Public Health England and a UK community interest company (CIC), Active Working, asked an international group of experts to develop guidelines fir employers to promote avoidance of prolonged periods of sedentary work.
The guidance, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, recommends that people whose work is mainly desk based should aim to accumulate a total of two hours a day of standing and light activity, such as walking, during working hours.
They should increase this to four hours a day by breaking up periods of sedentary working:
- With work done standing up;
- Using a desk that can be used either sitting or standing; or
- By taking short, active standing breaks.
The expert group, led by John Buckley, of the Institute of Medicine at University Centre Shrewsbury and the University of Chester, found that sedentary behaviour now accounts for 60% of people’s waking hours in the UK and that office workers spend 65%-75% of their working hours sitting.
Mayor, S. (2015) Office Workers Told To Stand Up For At Least Two Hours A Day. BMJ 2015;350:h2961.
Public Health England: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england
Active Working: http://www.getbritainstanding.org/active-working.php