Experts explore risks of sitting down at work

Public health experts and occupational health practitioners will join academics on Thursday (18 September 2014) to look at ways of tackling prolonged deskbound spells, which are linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Jemma standing desk

Around half of the UK working population have sedentary occupations – most notably office-based jobs, where more than 75% of the working day is spent sitting.

Reducing sedentary time is a major UK public health priority, and health guidelines recommend that people of all ages should avoid being sedentary for prolonged periods.

Organiser Dr Jemma Hawkins, specialist in public health research at Cardiff University, said: “Sitting at work is the main source of sedentary behaviour for many working age adults.”

During the seminar, which is a collaboration between Public Health Wales, Cardiff University and the University of South Wales within the Public Health Improvement Research Network, speakers and attendees will discuss the existing evidence and look at ways of reducing sedentary behaviour in the workplace.

Organisations in Wales which already take action to tackle sedentary behaviour at work will be attending the seminar.

Paul Dunning, Occupational Therapist at Wellbeing through Work said: “Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists working on Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board’s Wellbeing through Work service regularly advocate positive health and wellbeing activities that include taking regular breaks to undertake walking activities and stretches to aid in the management of physical health problems and helping people to consider alternative ways of ‘doing work’ e.g. walking meetings, stand-up meetings, etc.”

Emma Williams, Development Manager at Women’s Aid RCT, added: “Our organisation promotes walking to speak to colleagues rather than emailing, telephoning, etc, and standing up and moving around often.”

Dr Hawkins added: “We’ll also be encouraging delegates to take regular breaks in their sitting time throughout the seminar, in order to ensure we are all practising what we preach!”

It is hoped the seminar will help policy-makers find new ways of reducing sedentary behaviour and lead to new research collaborations.

Media coverage:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-29249898

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-29249718

http://www.itv.com/news/wales/story/2014-09-17/spells-sitting-at-desks-linked-to-heart-disease-risk/