This week sees several interesting news items surrounding kid’s health making the headlines. So rather than pick one out to write about we decided to bring you a news week breakdown focusing on kid’s health and education. So let’s get into it.
Dentists Call For Sugar Free Schools.
This week saw Dentists asking schools in England to go sugar-free after the launch of a new report which indicates the leading reason children are admitted into hospital between the age of five and nine is for tooth decay. The faculty of dental surgery has suggested supervised tooth brushing in schools. (These actually occur in Scotland and Wales already.)
They have put forward several suggested action points to combat the issues of tooth early onset tooth decay.
- Schools should become sugar free.
- Price increase sugary dairy drinks such as milkshakes.
- Reduce the amount of adverts for sugary food and drink.
- Lower the sugar content of baby food.
"It is incredibly worrying that levels of tooth decay among children in England remain so high. Everyone needs to play their part in ensuring our children have healthy, happy teeth." - Professor Michael Escudier, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery
New Tool for Assessing Screen Time Addiction
A peer reviewed journal, Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking found that more than 12% of kids aged nine to twelve are at risk of becoming addicted to digital devices.
The system for assessment borrows diagnostic criteria from the Digital Addiction Scale for Children (DASC) and measures the impact of screen time on the family unit, the likelihood the child is to lie about their use and the likelihood that problems arise from overuse such as sleep deprivation, academic slipping and more.
The addiction criteria were: preoccupation, tolerance, withdrawal, mood modification, conflict, and relapse. Now this might not seem like a huge news item but we live in an age where screen time is having direct consequences on how children’s brains are structured. A study released in November shows that more screen time means lower structural integrity of white matter tracts in parts of the brain responsible for language, literacy and emotional regulation.
Young people are now being diagnosed with a recognised disorder of gaming addiction because they legitimately experience symptoms of withdrawal and are controlled by their desire to play. No surprise when you consider how gaming companies now employ addiction consultants to implement game mechanics to cultivate exactly this response.
Info on the brain study can be found here.
"Screen-based media use is prevalent and increasing in home, childcare and school settings at ever younger ages, these findings highlight the need to understand effects of screen time on the brain, particularly during stages of dynamic brain development in early childhood, so that providers, policymakers and parents can set healthy limits." - Dr. Hutton.
Ways to monitor screen time addiction seems like a necessary response to a problem which is quietly growing in impact. Teachers and parents, take note. Screen time isn't just another boogie man. Overuse has direct consequences on your children's brain functions, sleep patterns, mood regulation and cognitive ability. As we live in the tech age where kids are grabbing iPads instead of books please remember that doctors used to endorse smoking before the general consensus was that they kill you.
New study suggests brain differences may be linked to obesity.
So this piece is interesting in terms of how it links brain differences and obesity which should the thinking that they are heavily connected become mainstream this could directly influence how we equip education work-spaces.
The recent study doesn't suggest that intelligence dips alongside weight gain but it does show a reduction in executive brain function alongside increased BMI.
Some critics say that studies such as these are dangerous because poor interpretation of the results can lead to unfair stigma attached to overweight people but an editorial which was published alongside the results called it "an important addition to mounting evidence of a link between weight, brain structure and mental function."
We have release many articles in this blog which demonstrates the mounting evidence that physical movement and active lifestyles directly affect academic results and even raises test score results. There are Ted Talks to this affect for those interested in learning more.
In short: These findings suggest that body mass index is associated with cortical development and diminished executive functions, such as working memory and might directly impact how in the future we look to treat obesity by improving brain function and vice versa.
The study yielded an insightful comment from one Henry Skinner MD Family Psychiatry of Maine who explains that should the cause and effect be reversed that the results might make more sense. I.e. "People with executive function challenges have more difficulty negotiating the toxic capitalist nutrition environment."
Is it simply a case of lower functioning adolescents falling vulnerable to a hostile predatory marketing machine and making ill-advised choices. Well according to Skinner child and adolescent psychiatrists observe this in clinic frequently and he believes this is the more likely reasoning for the results given that it requires fewer assumptions. (Occam ’s razor)
So just some interesting titbit’s from the children’s health community. One thing is for sure is there is an ever growing notion that schools have the time and resources to fix every child’s health problems which is simply not the case but schools are well positioned to educate kids to make better choices and learning spaces which afford students the opportunity to include movement in their daily routines are certainly an effortless way schools can support their students mental and physical health.
We offer schools standing desk trials for this exact reason. If you want to try before you buy then visit this form and get In touch.
An estimated 41 million children worldwide are deemed overweight or obese (World Health Organisation, 2017)
A study by the World Health Organisation and Imperial College London showed that the number of obese children and adolescents has increased tenfold in the past four decades and should current trends continue then more children will be obese than underweight by 2022. To put this in simple terms in 1975 there were 11 Million obese children now 124 million kids are obese meanwhile another 213 million are overweight but shy of the obesity threshold.
BMI is a measure of a person’s weight and body fat mass for their height, and indicates whether their weight is healthy.
A study undertaken by researcher Monica Wendel, University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences has shown a significant drop in student Body Mass Index for classrooms fitted out with student standing desks for kids.
The study was published by the American Journal of Public Health and included 193 kids at three Primary age schools. Children in the control classrooms used traditional desk seating (The kind one Head teacher referred to as inhumane!) whilst the test subjects used standing desks with the option of rest stools.
At the beginning of the study each students BMI was recorded along with pertinent information on their age, weight, gender, height etc. and after one and two years the same information was collected for comparison.
After adjusting for grade, race, ethnicity and gender Wendel discovered a 5.24% decrease in the standing desk classrooms student body B.M.I. The same results also showed up after only one year.
"School-age children spend most of their waking hours during the week at school. Changing classrooms to stand-biased environments has the potential to affect millions of children by interrupting sedentary behaviour, and this can be done simply, at a low cost, and without disrupting classroom instruction," Wendel said.
Now childhood obesity levels are at a record high so the simple implementation of standing desk classrooms affecting student BMI is an excellent supporting argument for making the move to include them in your learning space. Schools wishing to trial standing desks in their classrooms can start a try before you buy trial here.
New data published in October 2018 showed year 6 child obesity has increased by more than a third in 2007. This was from data captured by the national child measurement programme overseen by Public Health England.
The same data captured has shown;
- The proportion of overweight and obese children in reception year (aged 4 to 5) has remained at 22.4% equal to a staggering 136,586 children
- For year 6 children, it is 34.3% (equal to 197,888 children) compared to 31.6% in 2006 to 2007
Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at PHE described childhood obesity as a Crisis which the government needs to tackle with bold steps.
"This threat to our children’s health has been decades in the making – we’re moving in the right direction but reversing it will not happen overnight."
A new measure to help tackle the growing epidemic of childhood obesity has been implemented in London as of February 25th. The London transport network can now no longer carry advertising for food which is deemed to be overly fatty or high in sugar. The impact of this cannot be underestimated and should be rolled out nationwide according to Dr Stuart Flint, of Leeds Beckett University who contributed to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity. He said;
“This policy is needed across the UK, not just in London. Local authorities should be considering this policy and the potential impact that it could on child and adult health nationally.”
The ban also extends to roundabouts, bus stops, taxis and trams and is designed to reduce the glamorisation of junk food to kids. London has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in Europe with almost 40% of 10-11 year old's being obese.
A spokesperson for the mayor said:
"The mayor is confident these changes will not only reduce children's exposure to junk food advertising, but also empower Londoners to make healthier food choices for themselves and their families."
This is however only shining a light on a more national problem. Obesity rates are sky rocketing as are rates of diabetes type 2 according to new figures from Diabetes UK over 7000 young people in the UK now have it. Physical literacy is also at an all-time low due to our children’s overuse of devices and increased screen time.
There was a study on the influence of social media influencers who actively showed themselves engaging in eating unhealthy products and this demonstrated that children who watched influencers who ate unhealthy products on air measured an increase in unhealthy food within their diets. The same test was done with healthy food and this had very little effect. From this we can extrapolate that kids don’t need much of a nudge to eat poorly and marketing has a significant effect on their eating habits and their perceptions of food.
It will be much more of an uphill battle to glamourize eating healthy but as a nation we have a responsibility to ensure our children’s attitudes towards fruit and veg stays on course. The study data is here.
80% of British kids don’t eat enough veg. There is however a very cool new ITV backed campaign called Veg Power which takes the fight to veg and positions them as the bad guys with the only way to defeat them being to eat them. Veg Power is supported by a host of familiar names in the fight against childhood obesity some of which include Jamie Oliver, ITV, Ella’s Kitchen, Oxford University, Iceland, Birdseye, Morrison’s and Tesco’s
Schools in the UK can do their part to combat childhood obesity. They can request sticker and poster packs here; give your location and number of KS2 pupils to ask for a support pack. Or alternatively download Veg Power posters charts and more to promote the "Eat Them To Defeat Them" message on the following link.
Iwantastandingdesk.com proactively support over a hundred UK schools to implement standing desks into their classrooms keeping movement and active lifestyles a priority in their learning spaces. They see the benefits of this not just in more alert and engaged students but also statistics prove that their children are out-performing inactive students by 16%. Movement is imperative to good mental and physical health. It combats obesity which is linked to cancer and early death.
UK schools can request student standing desk trials here by filling in this very short form.
With new advertising bans alongside campaigns to demonstrate the importance of healthy eating to kids set to a backdrop of a changing curriculum to include health messages it seems that our government is finally waking up to the dire issues arising in our young people and their lifestyles.
Disturbingly children's expected lifespans are now 5 years shorter than our own for the first time in history. We desperately need more initiatives to empower children to make the right choices for themselves and encourage them to get outside and get active so they grow up to become healthy well rounded adults in this ever changing tech led world we have created for them.
Veg Power, School Standing Desks and The Daily Mile are all ways in which schools can help to combat the growing childhood obesity problem. Some schools are proactive in supporting healthy messaging...Is your school contributing to the problem of sedentary behaviour and its negative impacts or providing solutions to tackle childhood obesity? There are certainly lots of ways to have a positive impact. Time to start getting stuck in.
Brad Johnson, Author of Learning on Your Feet: Incorporating Physical Activity into the K-8 Classroom has produced an article in Principle, published by the National Association of Elementary School Principles describing the practise of sitting in schools as "Inhumane"
Johnson makes links to rising rates of obesity, ADHD and diabetes as a result of the old fashioned sitting culture in modern day schooling.
He has the stats to back up his claims and says that if these figures were related to an infectious disease that we'd be declaring an epidemic however as this is resultant from education it’s simply the status quo.
Obesity rates in children have doubled since the 1980's
Type 2 Diabetes is up 30% in children between 2000-2009
There are now 5.7 million children diagnosed with ADHD and the use of pyscho-stimulants such as Ritalin is up by 700%
Johnson reflects on a longitudinal study by Howard Gardner which found that a group of children who all tested at a genius level up to age 4 only ten percent continued to test at such levels by age 20. Johnson attributes this to the public education systems imposed uniformity and sedentary behaviours.
Johnson offers tips on helping kids to burn off their excess energy and focus on learning - these include regular breaks for stretching and standing, two minute exercise breaks for sit-ups to refocus and dancing and games designed to work off pent up energy.
Johnson states that there are many connections between the brain and movement and our ability to learn, one of which is that the same part of the brain that controls movement controls also learning so Johnson believes that sitting actively hinders the learning process.
Basically exercise and movement stimulates the executive function part of the brain which aids cognition, organisation, focus, emotional regulation and multi-tasking all essential elements of a well-rounded learner.
"The part of the brain that processes movement also processes learning. So when students are sitting still, the learning process is actually hindered rather than enhanced.” - Johnson
Johnson’s article is available here.
...and his book is available here.
Three Doctors have been quoted in the media this week. Here's why.
Do you own a standing desk ? Do you run? if you answered yes to both of these questions then using time at your desk practising balancing on one leg is just what the doctor ordered.
Dr Mark Cucuzzella is a running expert and a professor of family medicine in West Virginia. Amongst the myriad of "new year, new you" articles hitting the internet this January sits a nice little tip from the good doctor. He suggests runners should concern themselves with establishing and improving their balance and if you run and use a standing desk, you can use specific times in the day as a prompt for you to stand on one foot to develop and improve your centre of balance. This could be when you answer your emails or some other habitual moment that’s memorable and suitable for you.
Now why does this matter? well balance plays a huge role in running and — “because running is a series of jumps where you have to land on one foot, stick that landing and get off the ground,” Cucuzzella says it’s all about staying safe and injury free on the road or track. His article has a series of tips for runners to get active and stay healthy in world where technology is increasingly designed to keep us in chairs.
“Just spend as much time as you can on one foot trying to master that balance and never lose it,”
The act of balancing on one foot takes stress off each leg and initiates a degree of movement as anyone who follows this blog already knows we actively encourage this in order to get benefit from your standing desk. We feel this tip can work for all you standing desk users to keep those micro movements up which will help maintain good circulation and better calorie burning benefits from standing. Remember standing still all day is almost as bad for you as sitting still all day.
Secondly a well written article on the Independent also includes another UK medical practitioner, TV Doctor Mark Rowe providing a series of life changing tips including investing in a standing desk as part of a new year healthy regime to keep movement up and vary your working position - read their piece on getting active in 2019 here on their Life Health and Well-being blog.
Lastly Dr Vegar Rangu a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has had some disconcerting results to their study of cancer rates among 38,000 adults over a 16 year period, and found that those who reported sitting for long periods each day were 20% more likely to develop prostate cancer than those who spend more of the day on their feet. You read more about their research here on the Metro.
Studies have previously linked long sitting periods with increased rates of type 2 diabetes, cancer and premature death but this one specifically shows a link to an increase in prostate cancer.
‘The main findings were that prolonged sitting time is independently associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer while moderate to high leisure-time physical activity may reduce the risk of specific cancer types, particularly colorectal and lung cancer,’ says Dr Rangul.
‘we noted that moderate physical activity significantly decreased the risk – the findings emphasising the importance of reducing sitting time and increasing physical activity.’
With 2019 barrelling down upon us and those post-Christmas dinner waistlines stretching it’s that time of year when many of us start to think about how we might tackle our healthy habits for the upcoming year. Now as research illustrates Gyms aren't cutting it, as 9 out of 10 people who buy into a yearly gym membership will quit after only 6 weeks and with new NHS guidelines recommending standing meetings to tackle the growing obesity problem affecting our nation its time to consider working up those new year’s resolutions.
If you are making some firm plans to integrate standing and movement into next year’s plan for a healthier body then you might want to bookmark the 26th April.
“On your feet day” which is a national day when workers across Britain participate in a variety of fun activities to sit less and move more. Is free to sign up (which you can do here.) and offers suggestions getting everyone involved in fun and simple ways;
• Stand during phone calls
• Stand and take a break from your computer every 30 minutes
• Use the stairs
• Have standing or walking meetings
• Eat your lunch away from your desk
• Walk to your colleague's desk instead of phoning or emailing them
• Stand at the back of the room during presentations
The national standing challenge day website offers a challenge page with ideas on how to take part, including the creation of teams and fun challenges. Once signed up you can download posters, guidelines and information from March 2019.
We urge you to get involved, sign up, book the day in your diary and join 2 million other people championing standing in the workplace this New Year. Official website is www.onyourfeetday.com
The average office worker sits down more than an Old Age Pensioner. White collar workers are on their bottoms for an average of 9 hours a day healthcare studies show. That’s 540 minutes a day…a staggering 16425 minutes a month. Nearly 200,000 Minutes a year.
29% of us sit for up to half an hour daily on our way to work. Whilst a further 27% sit for up to an hour a day on their commute. We often then work sat down, take our breaks sat down, before commuting home on our bottoms. A third of us are then sitting between 4-6 hours in the evening and weekends.
After this? Well we go and have a lie down to go to sleep. Think about that for a moment. Can you section your day up from the moment you get out of bed and honestly say you’re not sitting for a massive proportion of it? Health experts vehemently agree that 9 hours a day (on average) is too much.
One study interviewed 2000 workers and found that 2/3rds of people didn’t consider themselves “happy” about the amount of time they spent sitting. 73 % of participants demonstrated musculoskeletal problems such as back, neck and shoulder pain.
Sitting is heavily associated with numerous illnesses. The NHS has written extensively about why sitting is bad for us, and they recommend at least 150 minutes a week doing exercise.
Studies have linked excessive sitting with being overweight and obese, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and early death.
Next year you have a choice to make. Are you going to be one the 2/3rds who aren’t happy with their sedentary lifestyle or are you going to join the growing number of people who are actively increasing their movement and integrating standing into their social and work lives to make their whole life longer, healthier and happier.
The beginning of a new year is great time to take stock and decide if you want to make some positive changes. Go ahead and set some goals. You could get a standing desk, or get an apple watch to remind you to stand, or just get out of your chairs and walk around. Whatever works for you, next year we urge you to simply GET UP.
The NHS has a helpful live well guide that is a road map for how you could be healthier at work. You can find it here.
Be your best version of you.
The Guardian have published a lengthy first person account of one writer’s lifetime struggle with back pain. The editorial in their ongoing “the long read” blog details writer Maggie O’Farrell’s reflections on living with chronic pain from spinal injury for many years.
An excerpt on Maggie’s life changing back pain;
“Don’t get me wrong: I consider myself to be an extremely lucky person. The doctors first said that I would die; when I didn’t, they said I wouldn’t walk again. To have recovered, to have found a loophole out of one of these destinies, let alone both, strikes me as the very best fortune a person could ever have.”
You can read Maggie's full editorial here.
Now we understand Maggie’s back pain is a result of injury and her telling of it brings to light one primary fact for us here at I Want A Standing Desk UK Blog. That fact is that back pain IS HORRIFIC to live with. Readers of Spine-Health.com voted back pain as being more painful that childbirth.
Now we can’t make every floor not slippery and we can’t wave a magic want to eliminate back pain from injury in fact the elderly have shown us that most people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. However we can suggest to you that some of you are getting back pain from sitting way too much. We know many of you sit for 9 and half hours a day. In the UK alone back pain is the single most common cause of lost working days, with the costs running into billions of pounds. Each year 2 million people attend their General Practitioners with spinal problems and over 300,000 are referred for specialist care.
Lee Barker who is the principal physiotherapist at Alderbank Physiotherapy, in Grimsargh, near Preston, and was a member of the Olympic Physiotherapy Team 2012 explains here that standing up isn’t just good for your general health it is great for your back. He writes that the body was not designed to sit for such lengthy periods but we need to take the pressure off our vertebrae and reduce strain by standing more.
MD of iwantastandingdesk.com Nick White said “back problems are life stoppers (short and long term). Why wait to start looking after your lower back until you have a problem? People need to spend less time in the chair and more time stood correctly to feel the benefits immediately.”
Business insider writer Mathew DeBord this week has written about his change to a standing desk after a lifetime of sitting. He fashioned a home-made standing desk to test the process before he opts for a better more rigid solution. Now we see these all the time on social media, these are the modern equivalent of the breeze block bookshelf. However even with a modest setup the benefits were convincing for Mathew.
Mathews make-shift standing desk. Read Mathews full account here.
He writes about how using an Apple watch he is able to keep ahead of his standing reminders which new research has shown can add two years to your life expectancy.
“It's been a few months and I haven't looked back.”
Abraham The Pharmacist has created a video after using the Eiger standing desk
If you see an interesting account of someone talking, writing about or solving their problems with a standing desk please tweet it to us at @standingdeskuk
Many children spend at least nine hours a day sitting down and with anti-sitting research on the rise and a daily target of 30 mins in exercise, teachers are beginning to integrate active learning into their classrooms to combat childhood obesity and improve their academic results.
The BBC has published an article detailing new research on active students.
"International research found that after three years of physically active learning, pupils were still more attentive following the activity...After one active lesson, a child can improve their Maths performance by as much as 16%. If your child learns in an active way, after two years, they could be four months ahead in maths and spelling compared to traditional seated classroom learning."
We reported last month that childhood obesity is responsible for a record breaking 5 year reduction in our children’s expected lifespans. The BBC article breaks down the benefits of combining movement and learning. In only one 45 minute active learning session a child can do 9 minutes of exercise, hitting a third of their daily target.
Andy Daly-Smith for the BBC explained that recently the National Association of Head Teachers passed a motion to encourage all schools to adopt physically active learning. Running around the playground to answer maths questions or getting outdoors for forest schools are just some of the ways UK schools are trying to get their children active.
Super Movers is a popular classroom based approach to active learning and uses videos of well-known children’s characters such as the Worst Witch to get children interested in the active learning experience.
The Worst Witch sings and dances about percentages in a supermovers video.
Meanwhile the International Journal of Health Promotion and Education has reported that students given standing desks have been found to participate more in lessons than those sitting down. A study of 282 students aged seven to ten years old for two terms, showed those with standing desks were 12 per cent more likely to answer questions or join in class discussions.
With the research that being active improves brain connections, focus and academic results combined with schools feeling the increased pressure to achieve new daily movement targets and some US schools going all-standing you should expect to see standing desks and active learning on the rise throughout the UK.
Brace yourselves. Standing Desks are not a miracle elixir with magical cure-all benefits.
The New York Times Aaron Carroll has published an article slating the growing culture of standing desks. Carroll writes that “standing desks have become trendy…research suggests that warnings about sitting at work are overblown, and that standing desks are overrated” This has resulted in a number of spin off articles from lesser known sites extrapolating that standing desks are unnecessary.
In the NYT online, Carroll quickly cites several studies to support his opinion piece including Rempel and Krause (University of California) published work in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine from July 2018 which states that there is little evidence to support the notion that standing desks improve cardiovascular health.
The NYT article has a grandiose title and by-line designed to grab you by the collar, pull you close and challenge your preconceptions. The NYT article throws out words such as “over rated.” Whilst Carroll proposes that standing desks are “not cures” and that “standing is not exercise.” Carefully worded statements designed to decimate the growing belief that standing desks are a good thing that benefit your health.
The article is written by a medical professor of Paediatrics. The author Carroll has constructed his argument based on several studies from specialists in occupational health that explain the correlation between long sitting periods and ill health only being bad when it relates to people who are doing that outside of the work environment and there are very few links between workplace sitting and increased mortality. Suggesting rather that the sitting stats are a marker for social influences to ill health such as unemployment.
Interestingly the New York Times would probably like you to forget that in June they produced a less polarising article on the matter of "exercise versus standing" which cited research that illustrated standing is part of the solution rather than a replacement for exercise. They write "you probably need to do both."
MD of iwantastandingdesk.com Nick White explains that common sense, moderation and breaking the sedentary habit is at the core of the health benefit of a standing desk culture.
"You need to take responsibility for yourself, your health and well-being. Nobody is saying that standing desks are a cure for anything. They are however an important part of the solution. If you sit on your bottom all day, eat poorly and don’t exercise your standing desks isn’t going to magically fix that. Take responsibility for your own lifestyle. A standing desk is a part of the solve. Take the stairs. Park your car a little further away from work and walk. Using a standing desk isn’t a cure but it’ll help you rid yourself of an unhealthy mentality. Legitimate research exists that proves standing desks used in moderation and with sitting breaks will benefit your health and productivity in numerous ways as part of an overall solution"
So White doesn’t believe standing desks are a magical cure-all elixir either. Does this mean they are overrated as Carroll writes or as some spin off articles extrapolated …”unnecessary”?
Perhaps the evidence of cardiovascular benefit has yet to be successfully empirically measured however this absolutely does not negate that a huge 800,000 participant study by the UK’s National Health Service found that, compared with those who sat the least, people who sat the longest had a 112 per cent increased risk of type 2 diabetes, a 147 per cent increase in cardiovascular problems and a 90 per cent increase in death from heart attack and stroke.
Resultingly the NHS in the UK now promotes standing as being part of an overall prescription for healthier living in order to reduce one of the biggest threats to our national health which is the populations growing sedentary habit.
Writing that standing desks are “not a cure” and “standing isn’t exercise” uses a straw-man notion that argues against a point that no one was making. It is unhealthy thinking, that whilst it might garner traffic like click-bait content it doesn’t contribute to the conversation everyone else is having.
Abram Falk commented “This is a strange and unnecessary attack on a device that many find helpful. Nobody was claiming that standing desks were a miracle health device”
Mike from New York wrote “No one argued that standing was exercise. This entire article is addressing a straw man argument. Standing -- for short periods mixed in with walks and sitting -- engages muscles that otherwise go dormant, improves blood flow, improves focus”
Another upvoted comment reads “I have not found anyone, anywhere who suggested that standing was exercise.”
The world’s greatest athletes advocate for healthy mentality. They believe in the power of positivity. Standing desks encourage that mentality. This can’t be empirically proven but it is broadly recognised as an essential element of success.
“small, positive changes, consistently made are a winning combination in life and in business” - Sally Gunnel the only female British athlete to have won Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth titles. Speaking at a health and well-being seminar she was delivering to businesses.
We live in an age where written pieces must be polarised and there is little room left for common sense. As such we believe impactful influencers such as The New York Times have a responsibility to foster ideas that contribute positively to society. Inactivity is a major health issue. It is the reason our children’s expected lifespans are 5 years shorter now. Taking a position that standing desks are bad because science hasn’t proven the cardiovascular benefits as emphatically as they would like whilst ignoring the myriad of proven health benefits and pro-standing research isn’t offering a balanced take on the movement. It’s getting traffic with controversy. Omitting the pro standing desk research because it doesn’t suit the narrative is unfair to the reader. We felt it was time that someone stood up for standing up. If carrots are suddenly proven not to give you night sight, do you stop eating them as part of a healthy diet? No. We say don’t jack in your jack desks just yet. Include them amongst all your healthy choices.
We all need to change poor habitual stationary behaviour. Standing desks are not a fix-all but they are part of the solution toolkit for combating a sedentary lifestyle.
Want me to prove it? Bookmark the blog. Then stand up. Listen to your body. It’s telling you that this is better. Keep at it and this writer believes you’ll find the results are irrefutable.
Standing desks are available throughout this website. Carrots are available elsewhere.
In the face of increasing evidence that sitting too much is leading to serious illness and obesity, the NHS website has published a set of guidelines on how (and why we should) sit down less.
The piece explains how some people are sitting for over 7 hours a day and 10 hours for the older generation. This in turn slows down the metabolism, reduces our body’s natural ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down fat. In short, sitting is making us overweight and ill.
I Want A Standing Desk UK Blog recently reported on Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock’s vision for the future of the NHS being preventative so it comes as no surprise that the new guidelines include the recommendation that people integrate standing desks into their own working days. Mr Hancock is a standing desk user himself and recommends that teams undertake their meetings at standing desks. The health secretary explained that standing meetings tend to be shorter and more efficient.
The NHS have published the Start Active, Stay Active Report which recommends breaking up sitting with short two minutes bouts of activity. A Panel of experts have suggested taking "an active break from sitting every 30 minutes." This can be accomplished with a variable height standing desk whilst allowing you to work through the sitting break.
"Breaking up sitting time engages your muscles and bones, and gives all our bodily functions a boost – a bit like revving a car's engine," says Professor Dunstan.
The NHS has included the following tips to reduce sitting time:
- work standing
- stand on the train or bus
- take the stairs and walk up escalators
- set a reminder to get up every 30 minutes
- stand or walk around while on the phone
- take a walk break every time you take a coffee or tea break
- walk to a co-worker's desk instead of emailing or calling
- swap some TV time for more active tasks or hobbies
I Want A Standing Desk UK Blog has written about UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock's belief that physical activity is "miracle cure" here.
In light of the shocking revelation that for the first time in history children’s life expectancy is 5 years shorter than their parents designedtomove.org has published a powerful video showing us what children would choose to do with 5 years extra to live.
In 2010 Nike formed a group of 70+ organisations whose mission it was to provide a framework to combat inactivity and understand a path to solving growing sedentary behaviour in children.
After initial launch the Designed To Move report has been refined, validated and published by The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE). The group refers to inactivity as an epidemic that threatens our health, happiness and prosperity.
iwantastandingdesk.com and our twitter Standing Desk UK champions activity in schools and workplaces. We are here to help you be ambassadors for the change needed to fix the increase of sedentary behaviour which affects mental and physical health for everyone in your organisation.
We offer standing desk trials for schools and offer free advice to companies on how to successfully integrate standing desks into their workplaces. We proudly stand up and shout about the designedtomove campaign, offering you solutions to help give the children their 5 years back.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock who tomorrow will announce a new health initiative urging employers to push movement in the workplace, says he believes it’s the duty of schools, GPs, teachers and employers to promote daily activity as he describes standing desks and movement as a “miracle cure” that cuts the risk of many illnesses.
“Our message should be that movement is medicine.” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said at the International Society for Physical Activity and Health Congress in London.
Employers are encouraged to build movement into their workers days by buying them standing desks and encouraging standing for meetings. The health secretary who himself uses a standing desk has made the plea in a bid to counter the ever growing issue of sedentary lifestyles lowering our productivity and importantly our lifespans.
“Research has shown that sitting for eight hours a day could increase the risk of premature death by up to 60 percent” reports Laura Donnelly, Health Editor of The Daily Telegraph
The health secretary has encouraged companies to integrate sit-stand desks such as iwantastandingdesk.com’s range of Jack Desks and to avoid seated meetings where possible.
Mr Hancock explained that not only were these measures designed to encourage benefits to health but also productivity and multiple other gains.
“Workplaces can make a difference; encouraging breaks, offering standing desks, having standing meetings…I know from personal experience that having a standing desk can help you get some exercise and improve your productivity”
Not only schools and businesses but GPs are also encouraged by Mr Hancock to push the benefits of standing and movement. “Doctors should not be afraid to tell patients that they need to be more active,” he told the London summit.
The health secretary has since urged businesses to also offer free fruit to reduce the burden on the NHS and encourage healthy living.
Sources: The Daily Telegraph , Daily Mail
Sitting for hours on end is linked to nine more cancers than we thought, according to the cancer expert who is helping to re-write the exercise guidelines. Charles E Matthews, an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute, warns we need more physical activity than we thought - but more importantly, we need to sit less.
Just one hour of TV a day puts even the most active of us at a higher risk of not just breast and colon cancer - which we already knew - but also nine other cancers including lung and head or neck.
"Watching TV is the major competitor to going out and being more active," he told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Austin, Texas. "This is where moderate activity like a brisk walk or things around the house come in. Anything that is not sitting is good."
Now we're not suggesting standing and watching the TV at home but if you've been non-sedentary at work using a standing desk you can afford some rest time watching your favourite TV programme for an hour or so!