How a desk job can send you early to the grave

Sydney: Bad news for those who have desk jobs - a new study has found that sitting down for long periods of time increases risk of early death.

The study of more than 200,000 men and women in NSW has found that the longer people sit each day the greater their chances of going to an early grave.

Even when exercise was taken into account, it was often not enough to offset the effects of sitting for several hours.

Those who sat for more than 10 hours a day had a 48 per cent increased risk of death compared to more active people who sat for less than four hours a day.

Co-author of the study, Adrian Bauman, of the University of Sydney’s school of public health, said people with physically active jobs such as gardeners, builders and childcare workers faced less of a problem than those chained to a desk.

“Your lowest risk of death is if you are physically active and don’t sit,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Professor Bauman as saying.

“Your highest risk is if you don’t do any physical activity and you sit a lot of the day.

"What’s happening is when you sit, the meal you have just eaten is broken down into sugar and your blood sugar stays high.

“Sugar wants to be taken into muscles and the liver to be used but if you’re sitting it’s just circulating so your blood sugar stays high,” Prof Bauman explained.

The findings will be presented at the annual meeting of the 45 and Up Study, the largest ongoing health research project in the southern hemisphere.


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