How the media oversold standing desks as a fix for inactivity at work

Churchill working at a standing deskSitting is so culturally ingrained at work, at the wheel, in front of the TV and at the movies, it takes a great effort to imagine doing these things standing up, let alone pedalling as you work at a bike desk. So, when the world’s first specific guidelines on sitting and moving at work were published, they generated headlines such as: Abandon your chair for four hours to stay healthy, office workers are told and: Stand up at your desk for two hours a day, new guidelines say. But what many media reports did not mention was the guidelines were based on limited evidence. They were also co-authored by someone with commercial links to standing desks (desks you raise and lower to work at standing or sitting), a link not declared when the guidelines were first published in a journal. Media reports also overplayed the dangers of sitting at work, incorrectly saying it wiped out the benefits of exercise. Our new study reveals the nature of this media coverage and its role in overselling standing desks as a solution to inactivity at work.

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