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Sitting down in the office may be contributing to obesity rates


Sitting down in the office may be contributing to obesity rates

nickj May 27, 2011

A new study conducted at Louisiana State University discovered that there may be something to be said for moving around during the day, and at the same time fewer and fewer Americans are exercising during office hours, according to Medical News Today

Around 20 percent of private industry jobs these days require a moderate amount of physical exertion, while the rest are mostly all about sitting down at a desk, usually at a computer. Fifty years ago, being in shape was important for nearly half of all private sector jobs.

"Yesterday's jobs have been replaced by sitting or sedentary activity… In the last fifty years, we estimate that daily occupation-related energy expenditure has decreased by more than 100 calories per day, and this reduction accounts for a significant portion of the increase in mean U.S. body weights for women and men," said researcher John S. McIlhenny.

While 100 calories a day in itself isn't too significant – that's less than a glass of wine – it's the cumulative effect that will take a toll on health. Sitting at a desk all day for 180 days adds up to 18,000 calories each year. That's the equivalent of 4.4 pounds.

Researchers speculate that the difference in commuting and leisure lifestyles have an impact on weight as well.

As such, the best cure for obesity related to sitting is to move around. Experts suggest taking breaks once an hour to stretch or walk down the hall. Even something like taking the stairs to work every day can be help make a routine healthier.

After work, try walking around in the parking lot or just around the block when arriving home. Many Americans move directly from a computer at work to a computer or TV at home, increasing their sedentary time even after hours.