Is It Worse to Be Sitting at Work or Sitting at Home?

A recent report indicates that sitting at home is more problematic for health than sitting at work and may be bad news for the manufacturer’s of standing desks.

Time: This Type of Sitting is the Worst for Your Health

Background: For the study, [published in the Journal of the American Heart Association: JM Garcia et al. Full text link Types of Sedentary Behavior and Risk of Cardiovascular Events and Mortality in Blacks: The Jackson Heart Study. https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.118.010406] “almost 3,600 African American adults reported the amount of time they’d spent sitting at work, watching television and exercising over the previous year. They also provided demographic, lifestyle and health-history information. The researchers monitored the participants’ health over eight years, during which 129 had a cardiovascular issue and 205 died.”

Key findings:

  • “After adjusting for health and lifestyle factors, the researchers found that “often or always” sitting at work was not associated with a heightened risk of death and heart disease”
  • “But those watching four or more hours of television per day had a 50% higher risk of heart issues and death, compared to those watching two hours or less per day.”
  • From Today: Sitting while watching TV, but not sitting at work, linked with higher health risk: “The health risk of watching lots of TV vanished when people spent 150 minutes or more per week doing moderate-to-vigorous exercise— like brisk walking, running, swimming and cycling.”

Commentary from Time report:

  • “People who spend a good chunk of their free time watching television likely do so at the expense of exercising.”
  • “Vegging in front of the TV may also inspire other unhealthy habits” –like snacking, consuming alcohol, and disrupting sleep patterns.

My take: This study suggests that sitting a lot at work is mainly a problem only for those who sit a lot when they leave work.

Retiro Park, Madrid

 

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