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Home >> Health Risks >> The Sitting Problem

The Sitting Problem

Introduction
The World Health Organization now ranks physical inactivity as 4th largest killer globally, behind obesity.

Throughout America we continue to sit more at every stage in life; as kids, working adults and in care homes. In the 1960’s over 50% of us had moderate physical activity incorporated in our work places, but today that the figure is less than 15%.

Modern technology and computer based working has made us more sedentary, we barely questioned the thought that technical advance could be reversing our health.

Furthermore it turns out that even if you are hitting all your physical activity goals but remain seated 8 or more hours a day you can’t undo the negative effects of too much sitting. Accordingly, we must create ways for all of us to be continually moving more throughout the day.

In recent years a new kid has emerged on the science block. That kid is called "Sedentary Behavior", and it’s beginning to get noticed for all the right reasons.
American Workplace and Sitting
Under American workplace law there is no current guidance on how to reduce sitting time in the office. The Division of Occupational Health and Safety’s (DOHS) focus is on the sitting position whilst at a desk. But the simple fact is that there is NO correct prolonged sitting position.

Our bodies are designed to stand and move for long periods of time. And we automatically shift our weight and move around while standing. Standing initiates key physiological processes and prevents both the repetitive stress and muscle degeneration that is caused by sitting.

At their 2013 annual meeting, the American Medical Association adopted policy recognizing potential risks of prolonged sitting and encouraging employers, employees and others to make available alternatives to sitting, such as sit-stand desks.

Dr Stuart Biddle, Professor of Active Living & Public Health, Victoria University, Australia.

"Even if you exercise for at least 30 minutes most days, you are still storing up health problems from being sedentary too much. The message is clear - move more and sit less"

In January 2015 Public Health England and Active Working C.I.C (owners of the Get America Standing campaign) jointly commissioned an Expert Statement on the status and impact of prolonged sitting in the office (Download).