By HSE East Africa | Friday Sep 15, 2017
A new research has shown that prolonged standing might increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the researchers, standing too long can result in blood pooling in the legs, increased pressure in the veins and increased oxidative stress, which can all contribute to an increased risk.
The study which compared the risk of heart disease among more than 7,000 workers in Ontario, Canada followed over a 12-year period, across different occupations.
The workers were divided into four categories: workers who mostly sit, workers who mostly stand, workers who use a mix of sitting, standing and walking, and workers who use other types of body positions such as kneeling or crouching.
The researchers found that those who primarily stand at work are twice as likely to develop heart disease as people who primarily sit. This was even after considering a wide range of factors including personal factors (age, gender, education levels, ethnicity, immigrant status and marital status), health, and the type of work being performed.
An elevated risk for people who stand at their job was still present after considering smoking, leisure time, physical activity, alcohol consumption and body mass index.
In an article published on The Conversation, one of the researchers noted that the incidence of heart disease among those respondents who stood a lot at work (6.6 percent) was similar to the incidence of heart disease among workers who smoked on a daily basis (5.8 percent) or those who were obese (6.9 percent). The research therefore suggests that workplace wellness programs should focus on reducing prolonged standing at work, just as they target smoking and unhealthy diet habits, to curb cardiovascular disease.
Some of the occupations that require prolonged standing include sales people, assembly line workers, machine operators, grocery store clerks, line cooks and security guards among others.