The Current

Sitting too long is making us sick: How to combat sitting disease

There are a lot of claims made for stand-up desks. Find out if they improve productivity -- or if it's all just posturing.
Peter Mansbridge move over. We're standing up for this one. There is now a motorized desk that allow workers to stand and deliver. It offers better posture and a way to burn calories ... and offers greater protection against disease. 

In the 21st century office, bosses no longer say: "stop standing around and get to work". They say: "start standing around and get to work."

Most people sense that sitting all day long at work is not especially healthy. And some health advocates say the negative effects of prolonged sitting can't be undone by exercise before or after work.

They even attribute diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer to just sitting around. A company in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, isn't taking any chances. STATOIL provides its employees with special desks that enable them to type and telephone while standing. Our producer in St. John's, Marie Wadden, took a tour.

It's no accident a Scandinavian company is in the forefront of this "standing at work" revolution. Denmark even goes a bit further than Norway, requiring all companies to make it easier for workers to both stand and sit on the job.

  • Mette Johannsen moved to Canada from Denmark six years ago. She says she was shocked to see people sitting all day long. She's now an office designer in Toronto.

  • Dr. Mike Evans is a physician at St. Michael's hospital in Toronto. Besides running a downtown clinic, he does a lot of public education. This month he's launched a campaign on social media called Make Your Day Harder. It's all about preventing the "sitting disease."

  • Nelda Rodger is the editorial director at Azure Magazine. She believes the standing desk is part of the evolution in office space and furniture design. She was in Toronto.

Let us know how you work -- is standing an option where you work? Do you feel you have 'work joy' in your workplace? Curious to hear from you.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Josh Bloch and St. John's Network Producer, Marie Wadden.


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