SOURCE: British Journal of Sports Medicine, news release, June 1, 2015
TUESDAY, June 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Desk jockeys should make a point to stand up for at least two hours during the workday in order to avoid the negative health consequences linked to too much sitting, new research suggests.
Gradually break up periods of prolonged sitting until you're on your feet four hours a day, advises a panel of international experts. Aside from taking regular walks throughout the workday, desk-bound employees can opt for sit-stand desks or workstations that require them to stand.
The recommendations are based on an analysis of research that links prolonged periods spent seated with a heightened risk of serious illness and premature death.
"The evidence is clearly emerging that a first 'behavioral' step could be simply to get people standing and moving more frequently as part of their working day," the study authors reported online June 1 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Increasing the amount of time that people stand could be a more achievable goal than encouraging more daily exercise, the researchers said in a journal news release.
The report was commissioned by Public Health England, which is an agency of the U.K. Department of Health, and another British organization, Active Working Community Interest Company.
Among the panel's other recommendations for office workers:
The researchers acknowledged that the materials they reviewed don't prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship between prolonged sitting and chronic illness.
Still, they believe on-the-job adjustments are in order. "While longer-term intervention studies are required, the level of consistent evidence accumulated to date, and the public health context of rising chronic diseases, suggest initial guidelines are justified," the panel wrote.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on the adverse health effects of prolonged sitting.