Standing desks could increase life expectancy of workers, according to a new study.

The study, published on Monday by Australia's Deakin University, showed that standing at work contributed to higher life year (LY) gains and higher health-adjusted life years (HALY), reports The Guardian.

Lead researcher Dr Lan Gao said spending excessive amounts of time sitting at a desk was associated with serious diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

"Adopting this workplace intervention also has the potential to reduce absenteeism and improve productivity," Gao said.

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"The introduction of sit-stand desks, alongside associated supports, is a cost-effective and innovative way to promote the health of Australia's workforce."

The study found the net cost of providing workers with sit-stand desks was about A$344 ($378) per person.

231 desk-based workers, aged between 24-65 years, working across 14 worksites in one organisation participated in the study.

However, some studies have cast doubt over the health benefits of standing at work.

Researchers at Exeter University in the UK and University College London followed more than 5,000 people over a 16-year period and found that sitting down was no worse for you than standing – providing you had regular exercise.

"Any stationary posture where energy expenditure is low may be detrimental to health, be it sitting or standing," said Melvyn Hillsdon from Exeter University's sport and health sciences department.

Australia's National Health and Medical Research council said there currently wasn't enough evidence to make a recommendation on the specific duration of sitting or lying but recommended breaking up time spent doing either as often as possible.