Companies called to introduce 'standing desks' to tackle obesity

Companies will be called on to provide standing desks for workers as part of a major Government plan to tackle the country’s obesity crisis.

The move to introduce standing desks is part of a new policy to get an extra 50,000 people every year taking regular exercise over the next decade.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar said the national physical activity plan, the first of its kind in Ireland, would help cut the country’s rising health bill.

“We’ve made great progress on smoking and now we need a similar focus on alcohol misuse, obesity and physical inactivity,” he said.

As well as encouraging walking, cycling, and other exercise initiatives, officials will “push” bosses towards healthier workplaces to include “standing desks and other measures”.

Speaking at the launch of the plan, Transport and Sport Minister Paschal Donohoe said €5.5m was being made available and he said several Government departments would come together to ensure the plan’s implementation.

Mr Donohoe said: “Even though Ireland is an active country, we need to get more people physically active.

“It is very important for their own health and our society that we do change some of the trends we are seeing now”.

Te Department of Health and the Health Service Executive are drawing up proposals for the workplace plan, which is to be finalised next year.

Sitting for long periods at work is linked to a number of health problems, which experts believe are not undone by working out before and afterwards.

Prolonged inactivity is blamed in cases of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and poor mental health.

Official guidelines on sedentary behaviour are also being drawn up.

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