Prolonged Standing on the Job Leads to Greater Risk of Heart Disease

A new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who primarily stand on the job are twice as likely as people who primarily sit on the job to have a heart attack or congestive heart failure, even after taking into account personal, health, and work factors.

"Workplaces have been hearing a lot lately about the health effects of prolonged sitting on the job," says Institute for Work & Health (IWH) senior scientist Dr. Peter Smith, who led a team of researchers from IWH and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) to conduct this study. "Our results suggest that workplaces also need to pay attention to the health effects of prolonged standing, and target their prevention programs accordingly."

The study followed 7,300 workers aged 35–74, all of whom were initially free of heart disease, for 12 years. Of these workers, 9% were estimated to predominately stand at work, while 37% were estimated to predominately sit. After adjusting for a wide range of factors (including age, gender, ethnicity, smoking, exercise, body mass index, physical demands, shift schedule, and others) the risk of heart disease was found to be twice as high among people who primarily stood on the job compared to those who primarily sat.

"A combination of sitting, standing, and moving on the job is likely to have the greatest benefits for heart health," Smith says. "Workplaces need to apply this message not just to workers who predominantly sit, but also—in fact, especially—to workers who predominantly stand."

Click here to read the article in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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