Workplace interventions for reducing sitting at work




Poster session 3


Tuesday 25 October 2016 - 10:30 to 11:00


All authors in correct order:

Shrestha N1, Kukkonen-Harjula K2, Verbeek J3, Ijaz S3, Hermans V4, Bhaumik S5
1 Health Research and Social Development Forum, Nepal
2 UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Tampere, Finland
3 Cochrane Occupational Safety and Health Review Group, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Kuopio, Finland
4 Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
5 Kolkata, India
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Nipun Shrestha

Contact person:

Abstract text
Background: The number of people working whilst seated at a desk keeps increasing worldwide. This contributes to increased cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. Therefore, reducing and breaking up the time that people spend sitting while at work is important for health.

Objectives: To evaluate the effects of workplace interventions to reduce sitting at work compared to no intervention or alternative interventions.

Methods: We conducted electronic searches of MEDLINE, CENTRAL, CINAHL, OSH UPDATE, Embase, PsycINFO, and WHO search trial portal. We included RCTs, cluster-RCTs, quasi-RCTs and controlled before-and-after studies. Two review authors independently screened studies for eligibility and completed data extraction and risk of bias assessment.

Results: We found very low quality evidence from three non-RCTs and low quality evidence from three RCTs, with 218 participants, that people who used sit-stand desks, sat for between 30 minutes and two hours less during the working day than they did when they used conventional desks. Sit-stand desks also reduced total sitting time and the duration of sitting episodes of 30 minutes or longer. Standing more did not produce harmful effects in the studies, such as musculoskeletal pain or a decrease in productivity. Other interventions aimed at reducing inactivity such as taking a walk during breaks at work did not change the length of sitting time at work. We also found low quality evidence that counselling may lead to a modest reduction in sitting time, (around 30 minutes on average). There were a number of limitations in the included studies that reduced our confidence in the validity and applicability of the results from the trials. The quality of evidence was low for most of the interventions looked at, mainly because the studies were poorly designed and recruited small numbers of participants.

Conclusions: There is very low quality evidence that sit-stand desks may reduce sitting time at work in the short or medium term, but there is no long-term evidence. The effects of policy changes, information, and counselling on sitting time at work were inconsistent.