UK family doctors to do consultations using stand-up desks in health trial

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GPs are trialling stand-up desks in a study investigating the health impacts of reducing sedentary working.

Led by Loughborough University, in partnership with the Royal College of General Practitioners, the study will see 500 GPs throughout the UK take part in the trial.

The research team will recruit GPs from the East and West Midlands, with each asked to wear an ActivPAL device. The device will measure the time the GPs spend sitting and standing while using their usual work desk for consultations and then again using a standing desk.

Researchers want to find out how using the stand-up desk can be linked to positive health outcomes.

Professor Amanda Daley from Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences who is leading the project, said: “Historically, GPs and patients sit during consultations to facilitate good doctor-patient-rapport – we have all heard the familiar greeting from our GPs to ‘take a seat’. But we also know that GPs spend a long time sitting down during the working day – which can contribute to poor health outcomes – and evidence suggests that doctors often neglect their own health.

“Therefore, we need to find ways of getting GPs on their feet and moving more often. Standing consultations could help GPs to be more active, as well as highlighting to patients the importance of reducing and breaking up their sitting time.”

Prolonged sitting is harmful, even in people achieve the recommended levels of physical activity, the UK Chief Medical Officers’ physical activity guidelines published in September say. Adults should aim to minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary, and “when physically possible should break up long periods of inactivity with at least light physical activity.”

Standing consultations could help GPs be more active and highlight to patients the importance of reducing and breaking up sitting time. Photograph: iStock/AJ Watt


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