Scientists find a way to lose weight while on job
Obesity experts have developed a vertical workstation which helps employees
take exercise and shed weight as they work.
The designers, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, said it could help obese people
to lose up to 30kg a year.
Fifteen obese volunteers burned an average of 191 calories an hour using the
treadmill, compared to 72 calories just sitting at their desk.
The study features in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The workstation, which is designed to be used for two to three hours a day,
comprises a computer, keyboard and treadmill.
The steel frame of the device is shaped in the form of the letter "H" and is
supported by four locking rubber wheels, so that it can be moved about easily.
The frame holds a Plexiglass panel on to which two adjustable arms are bolted
- one to hold the computer screen and the other for the keyboard and mouse.
Slats provide storage for personal items such as flower vase, cup holder, pen
holder or paper tray.
The adjustable design enables users to walk and work, stand and work, or, if
the treadmill is replaced by a high chair, sit and work. The speed of the
treadmill can also be adjusted by the user.
The 14 men and one women who took part in the trials all had sedentary office
jobs, and none took part in any regular exercise.
While using the workstation, they walked at the equivalent of one mile an
Their energy expenditure while using the workstation for 35 minutes every
hour was compared to that while working at their desk.
The researchers said: "If sitting computer time were replaced by
walking-and-working, energy expenditure could increase by 100 kcal (calories)
"Thus, if obese individuals were to replace time spent sitting at the
computer with walking computer time by two to three hours a day, and if other
components of energy balance were constant, a weight loss of 20-30 kilograms per
year could occur."
Obesity rates are soaring across much of the developed world, and many people
blame a hectic lifestyle for failing to make time to exercise.
An increase in sedentary leisure activities, such as using a computer, has
also been blamed.
More than 12m adults and one million children in England alone will be obese
by 2010 if no action is taken, a report by the Department of Health predicted
John Brewer, director of the Lucozade Sports Science Academy, said: "The
growing obesity epidemic is something that requires drastic action.
"This is clearly this is something that is slightly gimmicky and unusual, but
if it is a way of getting people with sedentary lifestyles off of their
backsides then that has got to be a good thing."
Mr Brewer said the workstation could potentially appeal to people who found
pounding out miles on a treadmill tedious by allowing them to combine it with a
more interesting activity.
The desks cost £1,000 each.
(BBC News Technology)