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Cross-sectional Examination of Long-term Access to Sit–Stand Desks in a Professional Office Setting

Published:October 01, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2015.07.013

      Introduction

      Prolonged sedentary behavior is an independent risk factor for many negative health outcomes. Although many employers have begun introducing sit–stand desks as means of reducing employee’s occupational sitting time, few studies have examined the impact of prolonged access to such desks on sitting/standing time or cardiometabolic outcomes. The present study compared occupational sedentary/physical activity behaviors and cardiometabolic biomarkers among employees with long-term access to traditional sitting and sit–stand desks.

      Methods

      This study used a naturalistic, cross-sectional study design. Occupational sedentary and physical activity behaviors and cardiometabolic health outcomes were collected in a controlled laboratory between February and June 2014. Data were analyzed in September 2014. Adults working in full-time sedentary desk jobs who reported having either a sit–stand desk (n=31) or standard sitting desk (n=38) for a minimum of 6 months were recruited.

      Results

      Employees with sit–stand desks sat less (p=0.02) and stood more at work (p=0.01) compared with employees with sitting desks. Significant inverse correlations were observed between several occupational physical activity outcomes (walking time, steps at work) and cardiometabolic risk factors (systolic blood pressure, weight, lean mass, BMI) over the entire sample.

      Conclusions

      Employees with long-term access to sit–stand desks sat less and stood more compared with employees with sitting desks. These findings hold public health significance, as sit–stand desks represent a potentially sustainable approach for reducing sedentary behavior among the large, growing number of sedentary workers at increased risk for sedentariness-related pathologies.
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