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When It Comes To Desks, Sitting Is Bad, But Standing May Not Be Better


OK, just look around your workplace. You probably see lots of them - standing desks. But as NPR's Patti Neighmond reports, a new study finds that health benefits of these desks are not really proven.

PATTI NEIGHMOND, BYLINE: It seems logical that standing up would be better than sitting down. After all, we know that sitting all day increases the risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. But researchers with the Cochrane Review say standing desks are more a trend than health benefit. Finnish researcher Dr. Jos Verbeek, spoke to us over Skype.

JOS VERBEEK: What we actually found is that most of it is still very much just fashionable and not proven good for your health.

NEIGHMOND: Not proven good for your health. But preventive medicine specialist Dr. Tim Church says that's not surprising. The desks are relatively new. And there hasn't been enough time to adequately study them.

TIM CHURCH: The best data suggests that it's not just about how long you sit. It's how long you sit and don't get up.

NEIGHMOND: Sitting more than 45 minutes straight, says Church, can be dangerous, not only for metabolism but also for bones and muscles.

CHURCH: When I can stand up and stretch out my back and stretch out my hips and stretch out my knees, I just feel better.

NEIGHMOND: So while it may not be proven yet that standing desks benefit health, Church says they can't hurt. Patti Neighmond, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Award-winning journalist Patti Neighmond is NPR's health policy correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.

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