10 December 2015

A new research study has indicated that workers supplied with sit-stand desks do in fact stand for a hour more a day at work, compared with co-workers supplied with sitting desks, and that the former group also burns more calories.

With increasing evidence highlighting the health dangers of sitting all day, the research, carried out by the University of Iowa, found that employees with sit-stand desks:

  • stood 60 minutes more a day at work compared with their co-workers with sitting desks

  • continued to stand more than their colleagues, even after their new-fangled desks lost their novelty

  • walked an additional six minutes a day at work

  • burned up to 87 more calories a day than their sitting counterparts — a small but significant amount that researchers say could be important in fighting obesity.

The cross-sectional study looked at employee activity over a five-day workweek. Participants had their sit-stand desks for an average of 1.8 years prior to the study.

Commenting on the research, Dr Lucas Carr, an assistant professor in the Department of Health and Human Physiology at the University of Iowa, said, "This study is unique in that we looked at long-term users of these desks whereas previous studies have examined employee’s sitting/standing habits immediately after being provided a new sit-stand desk, which is not a true test of whether someone will use the desk over the course of their 20- to 30-year career … Our findings are important because they support redesigning the traditionally sedentary office environment as a potentially cost-effective approach for fighting the obesity epidemic."