Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
Long periods of sitting down (e.g. during the working day) increase a person's risk of heart disease and diabetes. This has been demonstrated even for people who exercise regularly. Unfortunately with the rise of computer working more and more people are sitting for long periods of time during the day, and so this represents an urgent public health concern. This study aims to develop a new approach to helping people reduce their sitting time based on established psychological strategies for changing behaviour.
Who can participate?
Office workers aged 18 or over at King's College London
What does the study involve?
In the first week of the study participants are monitored using inclinometer devices which record when they are sitting or standing. Participants also keep track of the tasks they do at work in order to see whether they sit or stand more during particular types of task. After this 'monitoring' period participants are visited by the researcher for a session where they are given feedback on their sitting patterns during the monitoring week. Participants are then provided with 'sit-stand' desks which allow them to easily change between a sitting and standing position during their working day. Participants also choose from a range of strategies to change their sitting behaviour patterns, and importantly, to ensure that their change in behaviour is maintained in the long term. Participants use the desks for 12 weeks during which time they are monitored with the inclinometer devices for one week at a time 1 week later, 5 weeks later and 11 weeks later. After each of these monitoring weeks the researcher meets with the participants and interviews them to find out about their experiences of using both the sit-stand desk and the strategies for reducing their sitting.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
The benefits of the study include the use of the sit-stand desk for 3 months, the opportunity to work with the researcher to tailor a range of strategies to their needs to help them reduce their sitting, and finally the receipt of a £100 Amazon voucher upon completion of every aspect of the study. The risks of taking part in the study surround the use of the sit-stand desk itself. Prolonged standing can lead to discomfort and even injury, particularly if there is a pre-existing condition. Recommendations are provided throughout the study to reduce the chance of this occurring.
Where is the study run from?
King's College London (UK)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
September 2016 to June 2017
Who is funding the study?
Medical Research Council (UK)
Who is the main contact?
Dr Stephen Dewitt
Dr Stephen Dewitt
King's College London
Development and piloting of an intervention to reduce workplace sitting time: the REducing SItting Time Study (the RESIT study)
The aim of the current study is to gain insight into the most efficacious methods of reducing sitting time in the workplace for desk-based workers in order to develop an intervention protocol.
Psychiatry, Nursing & Midwifery Research Ethics Panel (King's College London), 29/09/2016, ref: LRS-16/17-3718
Uncontrolled pre-post design
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Non randomised study
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use contact details to request a participant information sheet
The study uses an uncontrolled, pre-post design among a sample of 30 KCL office workers, to co-design and assess the acceptability of a workplace sitting reduction intervention, with three main follow-up points.
This is a pilot study with only one condition (the intervention).
The intervention comprises three key ‘ingredients’: firstly, a behaviour and cue-monitoring phase, with feedback; secondly, the provision of a height-adjustable desk for 3 months; and thirdly, a ‘menu’ of behaviour change techniques from which participants can select to customise the intervention to their needs.
In the cue monitoring phase, participants are asked firstly to wear an activPAL accelerometer-inclinometer device for one week and secondly to keep a record of the tasks they undertake at work during that week. At the end of this week they will also be asked to provide a subjective measure of the amount of time spent sitting during work for that week.
Ten days later, in the intervention session, participants will be first provided feedback on the cue monitoring week. Their subjective measure of sitting time will be compared to the objectively measured time, to raise awareness of their sitting behaviour. Any emergent relationship between sitting duration and time of day, day of the week, or task type will be presented to participants. Following this participants will be provided with a VariDesk Pro Plus 30 'sit-stand' desk and will be provided guidance and tips on its use.
In the same session participants' opportunity, motivation and capability to reduce their sitting time will be assessed using the COM-B model (Michie, Atkins & West, 2014). Based on participants' answers to these questions they will be offered a range of behaviour change techniques including a range of goal setting, action planning, habit formation, problem solving, habit disruption and motivational quotes from other sit-stand desk users. Following the intervention session all participants will be sent a summary of the information provided.
Follow up interviews will be undertaken 1, 6 and 12 weeks after the intervention session. In each of these sessions the researcher will collect the accelerometer (fitted one week prior in each case) and run a semi-structured interview. The interview schedule at week one only will include questions on the participant's initial motivation to participate in the study, motivation to reduce sitting time and their initial expectations about reducing sitting time. All three interview schedules will then include questions on the participant's experiences of standing since the previous meeting, their perceptions of their capability, motivation on opportunity to stand over that period, questions on the conduciveness of the physical and social office environment to reducing sitting. Finally they will be asked questions related to their specific choice of behaviour change interventions to gain insight into their experience of employing these techniques. At the final session (week 12) the sit-stand workstation will be removed.
Primary outcome measures
1. Periods of, and transitions between, sitting and standing, measured using accelerometer-inclinometer devices over one week at 1, 5 and 11 weeks after the intervention session
2. Qualitative data from responses to open-ended interview questions across three sessions 1, 6 and 12 weeks after the intervention session
Secondary outcome measures
1. Participant records of tasks undertaken during monitoring week from Day 1 to Day 8
2. Participants' subjective measure of sitting time on Day 10
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Office- and desk-based KCL employees whose job requires them to sit at a dedicated workstation (i.e. not a ’hot-desker’) for the majority of their working day and to follow this working day pattern at least 3 days per week
2. Aged 18 or over (there is no upper age limit)
3. Able to stand at work (i.e., no physical impairment precluding standing in the workplace)
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Participants must not have taken part in similar ’standing while working’ research previously or used a sit-stand desk at their work station for two or more days in a row
2. They also must not have plans to leave KCL or plans to take an absence for longer than 10 consecutive work days for the duration of the study period (October 2016 to June 2017)
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
King's College London
James Clerk Maxwell Building 57 Waterloo Road
King's College London
Henry Wellcome Building
De Crespigny Park
+44 (0)20 3228 3084
Medical Research Council
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
1. The protocol for the study is intended to be published prior to completion of recruitment
2. Upon completion the study will be published in a peer-reviewed journal, will be presented at conferences and will be written in a plain English form and published in blog format. Further details are to be confirmed at a later date
IPD sharing plan
The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are/will be available upon request from Stephen Dewitt or Benjamin Gardner
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Available on request
Results - basic reporting