An international group of experts including several NCSEM members was invited by Public Health England and UK community interest company, Active Working CIC, to provide guidelines for employers to promote the avoidance of prolonged periods of sedentary work.

The set of recommendations was developed from all of the current evidence, including long-term epidemiological studies and interventional studies of getting workers to stand and/or move more frequently.

The following guidance was given:

  • For occupations which are predominantly desk based, workers should aim to initially progress towards accumulating two hours a day of standing and light activity (light walking) during working hours, eventually progressing to four hours a day (pro-rata for part-time workers).
  • Regularly break up seated-based work with standing-based work, use sit–stand desks or take short active standing breaks.
  • Along with other health promotion goals (improved nutrition, reducing alcohol, smoking and stress) companies should make their staff aware that prolonged sitting, aggregated from work and in leisure time, may significantly and independently increase the risk of cardiometabolic diseases and premature mortality.

View the ‘Expert Comment’ paper.