Don’t Just Sit By!

Our desk jobs, the time we spend sitting and consuming digital data, sleeping, or our tendency to be generally sedentary, is growing by the day. Physical activity and nutrition are crucial in the prevention and treatment of obesity. Our posture is also an important determinant of our non-exercise activity thermogenesis (fat-burning). Research published in the journal ‘Obesity’ has found that work days are associated with two hours of more sitting and less standing and walking time than leisure days. Moreover, active people consistently have high-activity jobs plus highly active leisure and can expend several hundred kcal/day more through walking than inactive people. The study poses questions which are not mutually exclusive: Do implicitly active people select active jobs and hence have high leisure activity? Or is it that inactive jobs beget slothfulness at home? If the former is true, say researchers, you need further biological insight to redress obesity. If the latter is true, there needs to be mass scale weight loss solutions and redesign of work activity.