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Is sitting the smoking of our generation?

by AirTalk®

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President of the American Academy of Family Physicians, Dr. Michael Fleming sits at his desk on March 19, 2004, in Shreveport, LA. Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images

Americans sit for an average of 9.3 hours per day, but this seemingly banal fact may be more profoundly damaging to our health than we realize. After one hour of sitting, the production of enzymes in the human body that burn fat declines by as much as 90 percent. Extended sitting, which is six hours or more of minimal activity per day, has been linked to increased risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer.

But not everyone is taking this growing problem sitting down. Employees are coming up with creative ways to fend off this sedentary lifestyle. Perhaps you’ve seen someone in your office with a standing desk. Or maybe you’ve been asked to join in on a “walking meeting.” Do you have any tricks of the trade to share with other listeners for how to stay healthy given these circumstances?

Are we unknowingly harming our bodies by sitting too much? How damaging really is the lack of physical activity? What can be done to avoid this unhealthy lifestyle? Are you planning on bringing your treadmill to the office?


Christian K. Roberts, Ph.D., Assistant Research Professor at the UCLA School of Nursing, Principal Investigator of the Exercise and Metabolic Disease Research Laboratory at UCLA

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