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Direct Healthcare Costs Of Sedentary Behaviour In The UK

The following press release originally appeared on the BMJ Newsroom and was published on March 23rd 2019. Spending large amounts of time sitting or lounging around during the day is linked to around 70,000 deaths per year in the UK and the NHS spends in excess of £0.7bn per year treating the health consequences, suggests research from Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. A large proportion of the UK population have sedentary jobs and leisure activities, and official physical activity recommendations regarding sedentary behaviour are vague. Previous studies have shown that spending large parts of the day sitting down increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and death and is a burden on health services. But no estimate of the financial impact that sedentary behaviour has on the NHS has been calculated, so the authors set out to do just that. Figures calculated by other researchers on the impact sedentary behaviour has on the relative risks of five specific health conditions (type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, endometrial cancer and lung cancer) and deaths from all causes were combined with figures on the percentage of adults…

What Makes A Good Champion?

Are you interested in becoming a workplace champion? Maybe you are looking for someone to assume this role in your workplace but you are unsure where to start. You might ask yourself what makes a ‘good’ workplace champion? Previous research suggests that the most effective workplace champions are those who have a genuine passion for health and wellbeing and are enthusiastic about the opportunity to inspire others towards a healthier lifestyle (Healy et al., 2018). They must also be committed to making long-term positive health changes in their workplace and display a good relationship with their peers. It could be someone that has, or is eager to gain, some experience in managing similar projects. Health and safety representatives are often chosen for this position because it coincides with their goals, namely to create a safer, healthier workplace. However, we must also consider the individual’s capacity to adopt this role. Do they have the time and resources to engage fully with the program within the confines of their own job? Or will it fall into their periphery? These are just a few of the things that must be considered before electing a workplace champion. More general personality traits like outgoingness and…

Americans Are Sitting at Record Rates. Here’s Why That’s So Dangerous

The following article was written by Alice Park and was originally published by Time on April 23, 2019. Every day, we modern humans stay comfortably seated on our behinds for hours at a time: binge watching shows on Netflix, pecking away on keyboards at work, scrolling through social media feeds. But do people really sit more than they used to? That’s what Yin Cao and an international group of colleagues wanted to find out in their latest study published in JAMA. While studies on sitting behavior in specific groups of people — such as children or working adults with desk jobs — have recorded how sedentary people are, there is little data on how drastically sitting habits have changed over time. “We don’t know how these patterns have or have not changed in the past 15 years,” says Cao, as assistant professor in public health sciences at the Washington University School of Medicine. The researchers used data collected from 2001 to 2016 by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which asked a representative sample of Americans ages five and older how many hours they spent watching TV or videos daily in the past month, and how many hours they spent…

How Much Do Sedentary People Really Need To Move? It’s Less Than You Think

The following article was originally posted by the Conversation on April 23, 2019 and was written by Emmanuel Stamatakis, Joanne Gale, and Melody Ding. People who spend much of their day sitting may need to move around less than we thought to counteract their sedentary lifestyle, new research shows. Our research, published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found about 20-40 minutes of physical activity a day seems to eliminate most health risks associated with sitting. That’s substantially lower than the one hour a day a previous study has found. We spend almost all our waking day sitting, standing, or moving. The health impact of each one of these can be complex. For example, too much standing can lead to lower back problems and even a higher risk of heart disease. But sitting for too long and not moving enough can harm our health. Then there are people who sit for many hours and also get in reasonable amounts of physical activity. For example, someone who has an office job but walks to and from work for 20 minutes each way and runs two to three times a week easily meets the recommended level of physical activity. While we know moving is better than…

Can sitting less decrease your risk of heart disease?

The following article, written by Gautam Ramesh, Andrea LaCroix, and John Bellettiere, was originally published on February 25, 2019 in The Conversation. You can read the original article here. Too much sitting has long been criticized for contributing to premature mortality, Type 2 diabetes, and a host of other illnesses. In a new study of 5,638 women, we looked at how sedentary behavior was related to future cardiovascular disease (CVD). The results showed that those who were most sedentary had the highest risk for having a future CVD event. We also found that women who most often interrupted their sedentary time to stand up and move had significantly lower risk for CVD than women who sat for long stretches of time without standing up. The results persisted even after accounting for other common factors linked with CVD such as age, overall health, blood pressure and cholesterol. CVD includes heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and other diseases concerning the heart and blood vessels. It is the leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 1 in 4 deaths annually. Our findings, along with the research discussed below, provides strong evidence that sitting too much is an important factor to consider for heart…

Global Action Plan on Reducing Physical Inactivity

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently released a Global Action Plan on physical activity with the aim of reducing physical inactivity by 10% by 2025, and by 15% by 2030. To support this goal they have developed 4 main objectives: Create active societies: “Create a paradigm shift in all of society by enhancing knowledge and understanding of, and appreciation for, the multiple benefits of regular physical activity, according to ability and at all ages.”1 Create active environments: “Create and maintain environments that promote and safeguard the rights of all people, of all ages, to have equitable access to safe places and spaces, in their cities and communities, in which to engage in regular physical activity, according to ability.”1 Create active people: “Create and promote access to opportunities and programmes, across multiple settings, to help people of all ages and abilities to engage in regular physical activity as individuals, families and communities.”1 Create active systems: “Create and strengthen leadership, governance, multisectoral partnerships, workforce capabilities, advocacy and information systems across sectors to achieve excellence in resource mobilization and implementation of coordinated international, national and subnational action to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour.”1 The reduction of sedentary behaviour is included in objective…

You should stand in meetings – don’t worry about what others might think

The following article, written by Benjamin Gardner, Lee Smith, and Louise Mansfield, was originally published in The Conversation on July 2, 2018. Standing in meetings may be good for our health, but it can also make those that are standing feel self-conscious, anxious about how others perceive them, and disengaged from the meeting. These findings, taken from our recent study, suggest that efforts to encourage office workers to sit less and move more must acknowledge the realities of the workplace that conspire to keep people chained to their seats. Sitting has been linked to adverse health outcomes, including increased risk of obesity, heart disease, some cancers, and poorer mental health. While some evidence suggests that the harms of sitting can be offset by at least one daily hour of moderate physical activity, this seems an unrealistic target. Most of the UK population fails to meet physical activity recommendations and spends prolonged periods sitting. Office workers, who make up half of the UK workforce, are particularly inactive. Our 2015 study of 164 London workers found that, on workdays, they sat for 10.5 hours of the 16 hours they spent awake. Breaking up sitting frequently with periods of standing and associated light activity can have important health…

Is sitting bad for us? There’s good and bad news

The following article, written by Professor David Dunstan – one of our BeUpstanding Academic team members – was originally published in The New Daily on June 25, 2018. As you read this, what are you doing right now? If you’re sitting down, scientists have some good and bad news. First, the bad news. The way most adults work has steadily changed over recent decades. While in many ways our workplaces are ‘safer’ from an occupational hazards perspective, it is now encouraged or even demanded that we spend large portions of our day sedentary (seated) – usually with our eyes glued to some type of screen. While this is now the new norm, we simply weren’t built for such a stationary existence and, unsurprisingly, accumulating scientific evidence demonstrates that exposure to high amounts of sitting significantly increases the risk of premature death, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Yes, you can help to reduce the risks associated with too much sitting if you undertake daily exercise, but unfortunately science tells us the best estimate of the amount of exercise required is equal to about 80 to 90 minutes per day of moderate-intensity activities (such as brisk walking) or 40 to 45…

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