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Research in Sitting & Standing

The science behind the need to stand

Studies find a strong correlation between long periods of sitting and elevated risk of mortality; experts call this “sitting disease.”

Key Findings

  • At their 2013 annual meeting, the American Medical Association adopted policy recognizing potential risks of prolonged sitting and encouraging employers, employees and others to make available alternatives to sitting, such as sit-stand desks.
  • A 2011 study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that when workers are equipped with sit-stand workstations, prolonged sitting is reduced and mood states improve.
  • A 2010 study by researchers from the American Cancer Society and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that people who sit for long periods during their leisure time have an increased risk of disease and a shorter average life span.
  • A 2009 University of Queensland study found that even when adults meet physical activity guidelines, sitting for prolonged periods can compromise metabolic health.

Featured Studies

Title
Authors
Setting
Intervention
Source
Year
Using Sit-Stand Workstations to Decrease Sedentary Time in Office Workers - PDF Dutta N, Koepp GA, Stovitz SD, Levine JA, Pereira MA office sit-stand desks (WorkFit) Int’l Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health - site 2014
Avoiding Sedentary Behavior Might Lengthen Telomeres: Secondary Outcomes from Physical Activity in Older People Sjögren P, Fisher R, Kallings L, Svenson U, Roos G, Hellénius ML non-specific activity schedule British Journal of Sports Medicine - site 2014
Impacts of Sit-to-Stand Devices on Outcomes of Special Needs Students - PDF Pronk N, HealthPartners classroom standing desks (LearnFit) 2014
Iterative Development of Stand Up Australia: Multi-component Intervention to Reduce Workplace Sitting Neuhaus M, Healy GN, Fjeldsoe BS, Lawler S, Owen N, Dunstan DW, LaMontagne AD, Eakin EG office sit-stand desks (WorkFit), training Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity - site 2014
Workplace Sitting and Height-Adjustable Workstations, A Randomized Controlled Trial - PDF Neuhaus M, Healy GN, Dunstan DW, Owen N, Eakin EG office sit-stand desks (WorkFit) American Journal of Preventive Medicine - site 2014
The Effects of a Non-Sedentary Workspace on Information Elaboration and Group Performance Knight AP, Baer M classroom chairs removed SAGE Journals - site 2014
Cardiovascular and Metabolic Benefits of Standing Desk Work - PDF Buckley J, Morris M, Mellor D, Joseph F office sit-stand desks (WorkFit) Occupational & Environmental Medicine - site 2013
Reducing Sitting Time in Office Workers: Short-Term Efficacy of a Multicomponent Intervention - PDF Healy GN, Eakin EG, Lamontagne AD, Owen N, EA Winkler, Wiesner G, Gunning L, Neuhaus M, Lawler S, Fjeldsoe BS, Dunstan DW office sit-stand desks (WorkFit) Preventative Medicine - site 2013
Minimal Intensity Physical Activity Improves Insulin Action and Plasma Lipids More than Shorter Periods of Exercise in Sedentary Subjects Duvivier B, Schaper NC, Bremers MA, van Crombrugge G, Menheere P, Kars M, Savelberg H non-specific activity schedule PLOS one - site 2013
Using Stand/Sit Workstations in Classrooms: Lessons Learned from a Pilot Study Blake JJ, Benden ME, Wendel ML classroom sit-stand desks Journal of Public Health Management & Practice - site 2012
Sit-Stand Workstations: A Pilot Intervention to Reduce Office Sitting Time Alkihajah TA, Reeves MM, Eakin EG, Winkler EA, Owen N, Healy GN office sit-stand desks (WorkFit) American Journal of Preventative Medicine - site 2012
Patterns of Objectively Measured Prolonged Sedentary Time and Physical Activity at Work - PDF Thorp AA, Healy GN, Clark BK, Gardiner PA, Winkler EA, Owen N, Dunstan DW office accelerometer 2012
The Impact of Stand-Biased Desks in Classrooms on Calorie Expenditure in Children Benden ME, Blake JJ, Wendel ML, Huber JC classroom sit-stand desks American Journal of Public Health - site 2011
Reducing Occupational Sitting Time and Improving Worker Health - PDF Pronk NP, Katz AS, Lowry M, Payfer JR office sit-stand desks (WorkFit) Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - site 2011
Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults Patel AV, Bernstein L, Deka A, Spencer Feigelson H, Campbell PT, Gapstur SM, Colditz GA, Thun MJ home n/a American Journal of Epidemiology - site 2010
Feasibility of Reducing Sedentary Time in Office Workers - PDF Gardiner PA, Healy GN, Robinson C, Winkler EA, Clark BK, Eakin EG, Owen N, Dunstan DW office training 2010
Accelerometer-measured occupational sedentary time in Australian workers - PDF Thorp AA, Owen N, Healy GN, Winkler EA, Gardiner PA, Clark BK, Dunstan DW office accelerometer 2010
Television Viewing Time and Sitting Time: are they similarly associated with biomarkers of cardio-metabolic risk? - PDF Thorp AA, Owen N, Healy GN, Clark BK, Salmon J, Ball K, Shaw JE, Zimmet PZ, Dunstan DW home n/a American Diabetes Association - site 2009
Too little exercise and too much sitting: Inactivity physiology and the need for new recommendations on sedentary behavior Hamilton MT, Healy GN, Dunstan DW, Zderic TW, Owen N non-specific n/a Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports - site 2008
Find more research relating to the science of sedentary behavior and worker health as used as references for our What if... video.

Case Study in Education

Standing Desks in the Classroom

Belle Terre Elementary School of the Flagler County School District in Florida established a goal to increase student achievement by providing healthy, collaborative learning environments. To that end, they created a classroom they call RISE to introduce 360°-classroom instruction. However, children were hampered by their traditional sitting desks, having to crane their necks or turn their chairs to learn at a new wall.

To address this issue, in spring of 2014 the school outfitted this classroom of 25 fourth-graders with LearnFit™ Standing Desks, which allowed collaborative configurations as well as healthy physical movement throughout the day.

Teachers, students and parents have observed improvements…

  • Effortless reconfiguration of the classroom brought new dimensions to teaching style and curriculum. Students move quickly to form various formations without wasting precious lesson time.
  • Maintaining student attention during instruction was no longer a challenge. The adjustability and mobility of desks addressed students inclination to move (a.k.a. fidget) during instruction in a natural yet nondisruptive way.
  • Students reported being more attentive and alert if standing. A more positive attitude was expressed towards year-end standardized tests.
Classroom Dynamics
Parent & Teacher Impressions
 

Wellness Summit

JustStand Wellness Summit

The JustStand Wellness Summit is an annual event dedicated to sharing perspectives about the science of sedentary behavior and creating healthy work environments. Thought-leaders and researchers from around the world come to share ideas and findings.


View Presentations:

2012 Summit | 2013 Summit

 
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