Health Effects of Sit-Stand Desks Still Unproven, Scientists Suggest

April 4, 2016

According to a recently published Cochrane Review, the benefits of interventions—such as sit-stand desks—to reduce the amount of time workers sit during the day are still uncertain.

 

In the new review, a team of Cochrane researchers examined 20 studies of various strategies used to encourage people to reduce the time they spent sitting at work. These studies included a total of 2,174 participants from the US, UK, and Europe.

 

Per a media release from Wiley, the team found very low-quality evidence from three non-randomized studies and low-quality evidence from three randomized studies, with 218 participants, that people who used them sat between 30 minutes and 2 hours less, compared to when they used conventional desks during the working day. Sit-stand desks also reduced total sitting time, both at work and outside work, and the durations of sitting episodes lasted 30 minutes or longer. Standing more did not produce harmful effects among the study participants, such as musculoskeletal pain, varicose veins, or a decrease in productivity.

 

The team also note that other interventions aimed at reducing inactivity during the workday, such as taking a walk during breaks at work, didn’t change the amount of time workers spent sitting. Other limitations they found, such as low-quality evidence, poor study design, and small numbers of participants, reduced their confidence in the validity and applicability of the studies’ results, per the release.

 

The study’s lead author, Nipun Shrestha from the Health Research and Social Development Forum, Thapathali, Nepal, states in the release that, “This Cochrane Review shows that, at the moment, there is uncertainty over how big an impact sit-stand desks can make on reducing the time spent sitting at work in the short term. There is also low-quality evidence of modest benefits for other types of interventions.”

 

“Given the popularity of sit-stand desks in particular, we think that people who are considering investing in sit-stand desks and the other interventions covered in this review should be aware of the limitations of the current evidence base in demonstrating health benefits,” Shrestha adds.

[Source(s): Wiley, Science Daily

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