dailypeghamLONDON: A study has found taking frequent breaks while sitting at work helps cut body fat and lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and early death. The results — which were followed up over three months — showed a reduction of 0.61% in body fat of the participants, thanks to 71 minutes less of sitting, after just one month.

Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark, National Research Centre for Prevention and Health and University of Sydney conducted a multi-component intervention to reduce sitting time and prolonged sitting periods. They analysed 317 officers in 19 offices across Denmark and Greenland, put into intervention or control groups at random. “A reduction in sitting time by 71 minutes per day could have positive effects in the long run as it is associated with reduced risk of heart diseases, diabetes and all-cause mortality, especially among those who are inactive,” said Janne Tolstrup, a Danish professor at the National Institute of Public Health.

The intervention included environmental office changes, a lecture and a workshop where workers were encouraged to use their sit-stand desks. By wearing an accelerometer, the researchers measured results over a five-day week. After a month, participants in the intervention group sat down for 71 minutes less in an eight-hour work day than the control group. This reduced to 48 minutes after three months.

“The number of steps per workday hour was 7% higher at one month and 8% higher at three months,” said the study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.