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GPs’ health at risk from amount of time they spend sitting, researchers say

sitting down

Most GPs are unhappy with how much of their day is spent sitting and are concerned about how this affects their health, researchers report.

A series of interviews with 13 GPs found they spent between eight and 13 hours a day sitting down, a study in BJGP Open found.

Three of the GPs had experience of using a standing desk but all participants identified workload as a key barrier to reducing their sedentary behaviour.

Extreme pressures and workload meant GPs rarely had time to leave the consulting room or take a break

Time taken for non-patient-facing tasks often spilled over into lunchbreak, further limiting the opportunity for physical activity, one GP said.

Another noted that GPs can be reluctant to move away from their desk owing to time pressures.

The researchers said this excessive sedentary behaviour puts GPs at high risk of health problems associated such as cardiovascular disease.

Addressing it could improve their health but also help GPs to counsel patients about their own sedentary behaviour, they concluded.

‘This study has demonstrated that GPs have good awareness of the negative health consequences of excessive sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity, and that most GPs are unhappy with their current levels of sedentary behaviour,’ they concluded.

A separate study, also in BJGP Open, of more than 800 GPs found 60% would like a sit-stand desks in their consultation room, while almost one in five already had one.

But while most GPs thought sit-stand desks could be used for telephone consultations (91.9%) and administration tasks (92.3%), only a third thought they could be used during face-to-face consultations with the main concern being the potential impact on the doctor-patient relationship.

The researchers concluded that the majority of GPs sit down for much of their day and standing to work could GPs conversations with patients about reducing their sitting time and increasing their physical activity.

‘This study found that GPs would support the implementation of sit-stand desks within general practice, as long as consideration was given to the impact they may have on the doctor-patient relationship,’ they added.

READERS' COMMENTS [3]

Patrufini Duffy 25 July, 2022 7:53 pm

The only top 1% professional speaking to the public en masse, with such unbelievable accessibility, for free essentially. There is serious a health risk from making up explanations for the trivial – and the headache of the 20% time wasters, and covering up for a sold off, dishonest system. It is tiring, boring and demoralising good willed individuals who are doctors, not nannys. Period. Documenting nonsense is becoming quite dry. That is why they are leaving and protecting themselves. The matrix and sick joke is over. The system is falling and change is coming.

Simon Gilbert 26 July, 2022 9:11 am

“A series of interviews with 13 GPs”

Lol research team really pushed the boat out in that study, must have been burning the midnight oil interviewing that many GPs!

Katharine Morrison 26 July, 2022 11:39 am

My chronic back pain has almost completely resolved since stopping GP work two years ago. Having time for daily exercise and with a lot less sitting at computers or in a car has been the thing to make the difference.