Ergonomics

Sit-Stand Workstation Research

Last Updated: December 15, 2017
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​Sit-Stand Workstation Research

Below are several major meta-studies concerning health problems associated with excessive sedentary behavior. Report titles link to either abstracts or the entire report.  A link to a more comprehensive bibliography is coming soon.   If you know of a work that should be included please email us to add it. 

Title Author(s) Year Publication Abstract/Synopsis
Longitudinal Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Trends, Adolescence to Adulthood.  Gordon-Larsen, P., Popkin, B.2004American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 27, Issue 4, Pages 277–283 There is little national research on longitudinal patterns of physical activity and sedentary behavior in ethnically diverse teens as they transition to adulthood.                                   Conclusions: The vast majority of adolescents do not achieve five or more bouts of moderate physical activity per week, and continue to fail to achieve this amount of activity into adulthood.
Relationships between changes in time spent walking since middle age and incident functional disability.Chou W, Tomata Y, Watanabe T, Sugawara Y, Kakizaki M, Tsuji I 2014Prev Med. 2014 Feb;59:68-72.OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship between changes in time spent walking since middle age and incident functional disability.
RESULTS: Compared with subjects who remained sedentary, the multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) were 0.69 (0.49-0.98) among those who became active and 0.64 (0.50-0.82) among those who remained active. These results did not alter when analyses were stratified by gender, age and motor function status.
CONCLUSION: An increase in time spent walking among sedentary adults is significantly associated with a lower risk of incident functional disability.
Sedentary Behaviour and Musculoskeletal Health – A Literature Review.Füzéki E, Banzer W2014Department of Sports Medicine, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany Objectives: To date scientific interest in sedentary behavior (SB) has primarily focused on cardio metabolic outcomes and cancer. Little is known about effects of SB on the musculoskeletal system. The aim of this review is to summarize and critically assess literature on SB and musculoskeletal health in adults.
Conclusions: Data available consistently suggest that sitting per se is not associated with an increased the risk of developing LBP. In fact some studies suggest a protective effect. However, sitting seems to be associated with the development of NP. The limited data available suggest that SB is not associated with OAH. Since sitting is ubiquitous also in leisure time, future studies should assess also this context, and include further relevant musculoskeletal outcomes such as strength, muscle and sensory function, motor control.
Prospective study of sedentary behavior, risk of depression, and cognitive impairment.  Hamer M, Stamatakis E. 2014Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Apr;46(4):718-23. INTRODUCTION: Modern-day lifestyles are characterized by large amounts of prolonged sedentary activities, which may pose a risk to health in its own right, although little is known about their effects on mental health. We examined the association between several types of common sedentary behaviors (TV viewing, Internet use, reading) and different aspects of mental health.
CONCLUSIONS: Some, but not all sedentary behaviors, are linked to adverse mental health. It is likely that these associations are being driven by the contrasting environmental and social contexts in which they occur.
Quantifying relationships between selected work-related risk factors and back pain: a systematic review of objective biomechanical measures and cost-related health outcomes.Nelson, N. A., and Hughes, R. E. 2009Int J Ind Ergon. 2009 January 1; 39(1): 202–210. doi:10.1016/j.ergon. 2008.06.003. The objective of this investigation was to use published literature to demonstrate that specific changes in workplace biomechanical exposure levels can predict reductions in back injuries. A systematic literature review was conducted to identify epidemiologic studies which could be used to quantify relationships between several well-recognized biomechanical measures of back stress and economically relevant outcome measures. Eighteen publications, describing 15 research studies, which fulfilled search criteria were found. Quantitative associations were observed between back injuries and measures of spinal compression, lifting, lifting ratios, postures, and combinations thereof.
Results were intended to provide safety practitioners with information that could be applied to their own work situations to estimate costs and benefits of ergonomic intervention strategies before they are implemented.
Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults. Patel, A., Bernstein, L., Deka, A., Spencer Feigelson, H., Campbell, P., Gapstur, S., Colditz, G., and Thun, M. 2010Adults. 
American Journal of Epidemiology, July 22, 2010, vol. 172 no. 4
The obesity epidemic is attributed in part to reduced physical activity. Evidence supports that reducing time spent sitting, regardless of activity, may improve the metabolic consequences of obesity. Analyses were conducted in a large prospective study of US adults enrolled by the American Cancer Society to examine leisure time spent sitting and physical activity in relation to mortality. Time spent sitting and physical activity were queried by questionnaire on 53,440 men and 69,776 women who were disease free at enrollment. The authors identified 11,307 deaths in men and 7,923 deaths in women during the 14-year follow-up. After adjustment for smoking, body mass index, and other factors, time spent sitting (6 vs. <3 hours/day) was associated with mortality in both women (relative risk ¼ 1.34, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.25, 1.44) and men (relative risk ¼ 1.17, 95% CI: 1.11, 1.24). Relative risks for sitting (6 hours/day) and physical activity (<24.5 metabolic equivalent (MET)-hours/week) combined were 1.94 (95% CI: 1.70, 2.20) for women and 1.48 (95% CI: 1.33, 1.65) for men, compared with those with the least time sitting and most activity. Associations were strongest for cardiovascular disease mortality. The time spent sitting was independently associated with total mortality, regardless of physical activity level. Public health messages should include both being physically active and reducing time spent sitting.
Sedentary time in adults and the association with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death: systematic review and meta-analysis.Wilmot, Edwardson, C., Achana, F., Davies, M., Gorely, T.,  Gray, L.,  Khunti, K.,  Yates, T.,  Biddle, S. 2012Diabetologia (2012) vol. 55, no. 11, 2895–2905Aims/hypothesis
Sedentary (sitting) behaviours are ubiquitous in modern society. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the association of sedentary time with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.
Methods
Medline, Embase and the Cochrane Library databases were searched for terms related to sedentary time and health outcomes. Cross-sectional and prospective studies were included. RR/HR and 95% CIs were extracted by two independent reviewers. Data were adjusted for baseline event rate and pooled using a random-effects model. Bayesian predictive effects and intervals were calculated to indicate the variance in outcomes that would be expected if new studies were conducted in the future.
Results
Eighteen studies (16 prospective, two cross-sectional) were included, with 794,577 participants. Fifteen of these studies were moderate to high quality. The greatest sedentary time compared with the lowest was associated with a 112% increase in the RR of diabetes (RR 2.12; 95% credible interval [CrI] 1.61, 2.78), a 147% increase in the RR of cardiovascular events (RR 2.47; 95% CI 1.44, 4.24), a 90% increase in the risk of cardiovascular mortality (HR 1.90; 95% CrI 1.36, 2.66) and a 49% increase in the risk of all-cause mortality (HR 1.49; 95% CrI 1.14, 2.03). The predictive effects and intervals were only significant for diabetes.
Conclusions/interpretation
Sedentary time is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality; the strength of the association is most consistent for diabetes.
The impact of sit-stand office workstations on worker discomfort and productivity: A review. Karakolis,T., Callaghan, J. 2014Applied Ergonomics 45 (2014), Pages 799-806This review examines the effectiveness of sit-stand workstations at reducing worker discomfort without causing a decrease in productivity. Four databases were searched for studies on sit-stand workstations, and five selection criteria were used to identify appropriate articles. Fourteen articles were identified that met at least three of the five selection criteria. Seven of the identified studies reported either local, whole body or both local and whole body subjective discomfort scores. Six of these studies indicated implementing Sit-stand workstations in an office environment led to lower levels of reported subjective discomfort (three of which were statistically significant). Therefore, this review concluded that sit-stand workstations are likely effective in reducing perceived discomfort. Eight of the identified studies reported a productivity outcome. Three of these studies reported an increase in productivity during sit-stand work, four reported no effect on productivity, and one reported mixed productivity results. Therefore, this review concluded that sit-stand workstations do not cause a decrease in productivity.