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DOING desk work in a standing instead of sitting position can help you to lose weight, according to a new US study.

Published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the study found that when standing a person burns 0.15 more calories per minute than when sitting. Assuming no increase in food intake, a person weighing 65 kilograms would lose 2.5 kilograms in one year, and 10 kilograms in four, by substituting standing for sitting for six hours a day.

Weight loss can be even greater if the person makes spontaneous movements such as shifting weight from one foot to the other, the study points out. A walk to a filing cabinet or bin would increase the positive effect.

“Standing not only burns more calories, the additional muscle activity is linked to lower rates of heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes, so the benefits of standing could go beyond weight control,” says the study’s senior author, Dr Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, chief of preventive cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York.

The researchers analysed results from a total of 46 studies with 1,184 participants in all.

Office workers spend an average of 11 hours per day sitting, according to the most recent German health report, in 2016, from private health insurance firm Deutsche Krankenversicherung (DKV) and the Centre for Health through Sport and Exercise at the German Sport University (DSHS).

For years, nutritionists as well as back specialists have argued that office workers should regularly get up from their chairs.

“However, standing still for long periods of time is also not ideal,” says Ingo Froboese, a DSHS professor and scientific director of the DKV health report, pointing out that standing still for long periods can lead to musculoskeletal problems. He recommends standing up several times a day, either to use the phone or by working while standing at a higher desk.

A US study published in 2015 concluded that call-centre workers were more productive when they worked standing up. One of the study’s aims had been to find out whether adjustable-height desks or special desktops were worth the procurement costs for the companies. – dpa

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