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Sit-standing desks won't fix a couch potato

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An updated review published in the Cochrane Library concludes that the benefits of a variety of interventions intended to reduce sitting at work are very uncertain.

Millions of people worldwide sit at a desk all day, and over recent years this has led to increased levels of physical inactivity in the work place. Health experts have warned that long periods of sitting can increase the risk of heart disease and obesity. There are a number of different approaches to reduce the amount of time we spend sitting down while at work. One option that is increasing in popularity is the sit-stand desk. These are desks that are designed to allow you to work at your desk sitting down or standing up.

A team of Cochrane researchers updated a systematic review that looked at the effects of different strategies to encourage people to reduce the amount of time they spend sitting at work. They looked at twenty studies with a total of 2,174 participants from the US, the UK and Europe. They included evidence from both randomised and non-randomised studies.

Although sit-stand desks are popular, their potential health benefits are very uncertain. The researchers found very low quality evidence from three non-randomised studies and low quality evidence from three randomised studies, with 218 participants, that people who used them sat between 30 minutes and two hours less,...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.