Study Reaffirms the Positive Impact of Sit-Stand Workstations
A pilot study conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia, found that using an Ergotron WorkFit Sit-Stand Workstation that allowed workers to either sit or stand reduced on-the-job sitting time by more than 27 percent.
Released in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and reported in the Wall Street Journal, the pilot intervention study reaffirms that the introduction of a sit-stand workstation can substantially reduce office workers' sitting time, which is significant since excessive sitting is linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes and other adverse health conditions.
From February to June 2011, researchers used activity monitors to measure and compare the sitting and standing time of two groups of Australian office workers. After the first measurement, one group (18 workers) received an Ergotron WorkFit-S Sit-Stand Workstation, which allowed them to easily switch between a seated and standing position. The other group (14 workers), who were physically located at a different workplace, remained at their non-adjustable desks. Study participants were mostly women in their 30s.
"It's important to see the solution in the study of the problem. Dr. Healy gives businesses concrete data behind the choice to adopt commercially available and affordable workstations," said Jane Payfer, chief marketing officer, Ergotron. "The use of a sit-stand workstation has definitive impact on reducing sedentary time at work, and the risks associated with prolonged sitting."
In the sit-stand group, sitting time was reduced by more than two hours and standing time increased by more than two hours after both one week and three months of workstation use, compared with the group that did not receive the desks. Overall sitting time during a 16-hour weekday was reduced by about 80 minutes and standing time increased by up to 90 minutes in the sit-stand group, though no significant changes were found in walking time, researchers said.
"The pilot study provides evidence that a sit-stand workstation (approximate US $399) can reduce sitting time in office workers," said Genevieve Healy, PhD, The University of Queensland. "Furthermore, epidemiologic evidence suggests that the reductions in sitting at the workplace could potentially have considerable impact on cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes prevention."
Dr. Healy and team are currently extending this research into multiple workplaces to examine the most feasible and acceptable ways to reduce prolonged sitting in the workplace. They are also exploring the impact of reducing workplace sitting time on health and work-related outcomes, including risk biomarkers for cardiovascular disease and productivity.