Philippines declares war on excessive sitting

Desk-bed for people who can't let go of their screens
Desk-bed for people who can't let go of their screens

Office workers in the Philippines, you may now stand up. In fact, you have to stand up. Regularly.

The country's Department of Labor and Employment has introduced new rules that require companies to give their employees time for "standing and walking" at regular intervals.

The policy mandates that office workers be given a five-minute break "from sitting time" every two hours. It also directs firms to provide standing desks and organize fitness activities like calisthenics.

Companies in the Philippines must notify the government when they have instituted the measures, and they will be subject to periodic inspections from the labor regulator. The new rules will take effect in two weeks.

The government said it was making the change in order to "address the occupational safety and health issues ... related to sedentary work or sitting."

Related: U.S. teachers welcome standing desks in the classroom

Scientific studies have long warned of the health risks of prolonged sitting.

People who spend long hours seated at their desks are at a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and other medical issues.

"Additional physical activity cannot fully compensate the effects of prolonged sitting," said a study published in 2016. "Standing between prolonged sitting periods ... should be a goal for adults, irrespective of their exercise habits."

A 2015 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine said desk workers should aim to spend at least four hours of their day standing or walking.

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