A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of treadmill desks on energy expenditure, sitting time and cardiometabolic health in adults

    BMC Public Health Volume 21, Article number: 2082(2021)

    As the health risks of sedentary working environments become more clear, greater emphasis on the implementation of walking interventions to reduce sitting time is needed. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we investigate the role of treadmill-desk interventions on energy expenditure, sitting time, and cardiometabolic health in adults with sedentary occupations.

    Relevant studies published in English were identified using CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Web of Science, Scopus, and PubMed databases up to December 2020. Random effects meta-analysis models were used to pool study results.

    Thirteen relevant studies (six workplaces and seven laboratories) were found with a total of 351 participants. Pooled analysis of laboratory studies showed a significant increase in energy expenditure (105.23 kcal per hour, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 90.41 to 120.4), as well as metabolic rate (5.0 mL/kg/min, 95% CI: 3.35 to 6.64), among treadmill desk users compared to sitting conditions. No evidence of significant differences in blood pressure were found. In workplace studies, we observed a significant reduction in sitting time over a 24-h period (− 1.73 min per hour, 95% CI: − 3.3 to − 0.17) among users of treadmill desks, compared to a conventional desk. However, there were no evidence of statistically significant changes in other metabolic outcomes.

    Treadmill desks offer a feasible and effective intervention to increase energy expenditure and metabolic rate and reduce sitting time while performing work-related tasks. Future studies are needed to increase generalizability to different workplace settings and further evaluate their impact on cardiometabolic health.

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