Workplaces and schools must stand up for health

By June Shannon Heart News   |   26th Sep 2018

Schools and workplaces do not create opportunities for people to sit less.

Irish workplaces, schools and colleges need to do more to help employees and students stand up for their health.

This was the message from the Irish Heart Foundation as it revealed new figures that found that more than half of people surveyed, said their school/college/workplace did not create opportunities for them to sit less during the day.

As part of its Chairs Can Kill campaign, the Irish Heart Foundation has published research conducted by Ipsos MRBI which found that people in Ireland spend on average 3.6 hours every day sitting down at work, school or college but almost three fifths (59%) reported that their school/college/workplace did not create opportunities for them to sit less during the day.

The Irish Heart Foundation’s Chairs Can Kill campaign, aims to raise awareness of the risks to people’s heart health of sitting for long periods of time. People who sit down for long periods of time are more than twice as likely to develop heart disease and stroke.

When asked if they had made changes to try to reduce the amount of time they spend sitting down, just 46 per cent of survey respondents said they had. The majority of these (57%) had done so by introducing more activity into their leisure time. Almost half or 44 per cent included more activity/standing breaks in their work/school day, 4 per cent made changes to their commute, 2 per cent reduced the time they spent sitting watching TV or in front of a screen, 2 per cent changed their workstation and 2 per cent got a fitness tracker.

"We are calling on workplaces across Ireland to get involved in the campaign and support their employees to sit less and be healthier,”

Janis Morrissey, Head of Health Promotion, Information and Training , Irish Heart Foundation

According to Janis Morrissey, Head of Health Promotion, Information and Training at the Irish Heart Foundation, “Our research shows that the average person in Ireland spends 7.3 hours every day sitting down and 3.6 of these hours are at work, school or college. Sitting for long periods of time increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Even more worryingly, there is now increasing evidence that the positive health benefits of exercise may not entirely counteract the negative effects of a mostly sedentary lifestyle.

“At the Irish Heart Foundation, we believe that as a collective environment, workplaces, schools and colleges offer the perfect opportunity to encourage healthy behaviours. More and more we are seeing workplaces offer their staff lunchtime walks, yoga classes and step challenges. This is really welcome but we’d like to see initiatives which spread beyond lunch breaks, such as standing or walking meetings and standing desks. There are opportunities to suit all workplaces and budgets.

“As part of our Chairs Can Kill campaign, we have developed a suite of resources for workplaces which identify the health risks of sitting down and offer advice to reduce sitting time in the workplace. We are calling on workplaces across Ireland to get involved in the campaign and support their employees to sit less and be healthier.”

Chairs Can Kill is a new campaign developed by the Irish Heart Foundation which aims to raise awareness amongst people in Ireland of the health risks of sitting down for long periods of time. The campaign is part-funded by the HSE through its Health Promotion and Improvement grant.

Chairs can kill

Did you know that sitting down for long periods of time can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke?

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