The Evidence

Simple activities to be active at your desk – Part 3

Desk-based workers can spend a lot of time at their desk sitting. If you are a regular follow of this blog, you will know that high levels of sitting time can have several detrimental impacts on health and wellbeing, including on cognitive function, risk of diabetes, physical function and quality of life. Prolonged sitting – that is, sitting for a long time without taking a break – is emerging as particularly harmful, which is why we promote regular breaks from sitting at BeUpstanding. Indeed, a 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis by Loh and colleagues highlighted the beneficial effects of having regular physical activity breaks on blood sugar, insulin, and triacylglycerol measures. Their article concluded that taking short breaks from prolonged sitting results in better glycemic control and improved metabolic control compared to individuals who do not incorporate short physical activity breaks. One impact of too much sitting for too long is on our musculoskeletal health. Here, prolonged sitting can cause tight hip flexors and leg muscles. Vanroelen (2022) states that these imbalances are due to the shortened and lengthened muscles in your legs due to muscle weakness and tightness. These imbalances can lead to a compensatory hyperlordosis or excessive inward…

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Modelling the potential health and economic benefits of reducing population sitting time in Australia

Strong evidence indicates that excessive time spent sitting (sedentary behaviour) is detrimentally associated with multiple chronic diseases. A paper titled “Modelling the potential health and economic benefits of reducing population sitting time in Australia” has recently been published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity and describes the development of the first Australian sedentary behaviour model that can be used to predict the long term consequences of interventions targeted at reducing sedentary behaviour through reductions in sitting time. The authors report that sedentary behaviour is prevalent among adults in Australia and has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, estimating the potential health benefits and healthcare cost saving associated with reductions in population sitting time, could be useful for the development of public health initiatives. A sedentary behaviour model was developed and incorporated into an existing proportional, multi-state, life table Markov model (ACE-Obesity Policy model). This model simulates the 2019 Australian population (age 18 years and above) and estimates the incidence, prevalence and mortality of five diseases associated with sedentary behaviour (type 2 diabetes, stroke, endometrial, breast and colorectal cancer). According to the model, if all Australian adults sat no more than 4 h per day, this would result in health…

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Economics of Sedentary Behaviour

It is well established that sedentary behaviour is an established risk factor for several diseases; however, its economic impacts are less understood. Published in Preventative Medicine last week, a paper titled “Economics of sedentary behaviour: A systematic review of cost of illness, cost-effectiveness, and return on investment studies” is the first review that has investigated the broader economic credentials of Sedentary Behaviour. The authors, Nguyen P et al., reviewed the literature on the economic costs associated with excessive sedentary behaviour and the cost-effectiveness of interventions targeting sedentary time. The review identified nine articles. Three reported healthcare costs associated with excessive sedentary time, and found that healthcare costs associated with excessive sedentary time as reported in cost of illness studies were substantial. However, none explored non-health sector costs. In the six articles which were economic evaluations of interventions targeting sedentary behaviour, they adopted a societal perspective. However, costs included differed depending on the intervention context. The authors concluded that excessive sedentary behaviour is likely associated with excess healthcare costs and of the limited interventions targeting sedentary behaviour reduction that have been economically evaluated, most were likely to be cost-effective. The most promising interventions from a cost-effectiveness perspective were those that included…

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Can Too Much Sitting be Contributing to Depression?

A recent blog post titled ‘Can Too much Sitting be Contributing to Depression’ was published by the Sedentary Behaviour Research Network. It looked at the relationship between sitting and depression and reported that the research seems to support the idea that excessive sitting is positively correlated with an increase in depression. It also highlighted two distinct types of sedentary sitting behaviour: mentally passive (ex. Watching television) and mentally active (ex.reading or driving), and that it is the mentally passive sitting that could have deleterious health effects. You can read the full blog here.

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