Health effects of sit-standing desks are not proven.
Sitting for long stretches of time is dangerous for a person's health. Millions of people sit nearly all day at a desk during work and this physical inactivity can lead to health issues like diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
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A variety of approaches have been introduced to reduce sitting at work and one of the most popular ways to deal with prolonged sitting is a standing desk, which obviously stops you from sitting, but the benefits of these desks are largely unproven.
Researchers have found very little evidence to support the widespread use of standing desks, which can be easily adjusted to any height at workplace and can be used either sitting down or standing up.
“At present there is not enough high-quality evidence available to determine whether spending more time standing at work can repair the harms of a sedentary life,” said co-author Jos Verbeek from Cochrane Work Review Group, Finland.
“Standing instead of sitting hardly increases energy expenditure, so we should not expect a sit-stand desk to help in losing weight.”
For the study, researchers looked at 20 studies that were based on the effects of different strategies employed by the people to reduce too much sitting. These studies involved more than 2,000 participants from Britain, US and Europe.
Researchers found that although sit-stand desks are very popular these days and they have helped people increase the time on their feet, the potential health benefits are very uncertain. Other interventions such as taking a walk during break did not lead to any significant reduction in sitting time. Nevertheless, standing more at work did not produce any harmful effects on the body such as pain, enlarged veins or decrease in productivity.
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“This Cochrane Review shows that, at the moment, there is an uncertainty that over how big impact sit- stand desks can make on reducing time spent sitting at work in the short term,” said study’s lead author, Nipun Shrestha. “We need further research to assess the effectiveness of different type of interventions for reducing sitting time in workplaces in both the short and long term. The evidence base would be improved with larger studies, longer follow up and research from low income countries.”