Desk jobs are bad for your heart and your waist

v:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
o:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
w:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
.shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);}

Desk jobs
are bad for your heart and your waist


March 1, 2017


University of Warwick


A new study shows further evidence for the
view that spending too much time sitting down is bad for our health and our

A new study shows further
evidence for the view that spending too much time sitting down is bad for our
health and our waistline.

led by Dr William Tigbe, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick found
workers who have a desk-bound job have bigger waists and increased risk of
heart disease. It supports advice to sit less and be more active; as much as
seven hours a day on your feet, and walking seven miles, may be needed to avoid
heart disease.

Dr Tigbe kitted out 111
healthy Glaswegian postal workers with activity monitors for seven days; 55
were office workers and 56 delivered post for a living. The study revealed
differences between the two groups. Those who had desk jobs had a bigger waist
circumference — 97 cm compared to 94 cm — and approximately one BMI unit
difference. They also had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease — 2.2%
compared to 1.6% over ten years.

The new study suggests
that waist circumference increases by two centimetres, and risk of
cardiovascular diseases by 0.2%, for every additional hour of sitting on top of
five hours.

Furthermore, bad
cholesterol (LDL) increases and good cholesterol (HDL) decreases with each
additional hour of sitting from five hours a day.

Dr Tigbe said:
“Longer time spent in sedentary posture is significantly associated with
larger waist circumference, higher triglycerides (fat in the blood) and lower
HDL cholesterol, all adding up to worse risk of heart disease. The levels
associated with zero risk factors were walking more than 15,000 steps per day,
which is equivalent to walking seven to eight miles, or spending seven hours
per day upright.

“Our findings could
be used as the basis of new public health targets for sitting, lying, standing
and stepping to avoid metabolic risks.

“However the levels
suggested in our research would be very challenging to achieve unless
incorporated into people’s occupations.”

The study participants
wore a tiny physical activity and position monitor called activPAL, invented by
co-authors from Glasgow Caledonian University, strapped to their thigh for
seven days, except during activities that risk it being in contact with water,
e.g. bathing or swimming. They also had their weight, height and blood pressure
measured, and provided blood samples. Cardiovascular risks were assessed using
the PROCAM risk calculator which takes into account age, sex, family history,
blood pressure and metabolic measures.

The study took place
between took place between September 2006 and September 2007 and volunteers
were recruited from the Royal Mail in Glasgow. Only apparently healthy,
non-smokers, with no personal history of myocardial infarction (heart attack),
stroke, coronary heart disease, hypertension or diabetes were included. None of
the participants was on any lipid, blood pressure or glucose lowering

Fellow researcher
Professor Mike Lean of the University of Glasgow’s School of Medicine said:
“In this research we have learned important information, relevant to
health in modern working lives, by studying the activity patterns of postal
workers, one of the last physically active occupations left in UK.”

“Our evolution, to
become the human species, did not equip us well to spending all day sitting
down. We probably adapted to be healthiest spending seven to eight hours every
day on our feet, as hunters or gatherers. “

“Our new research
supports that idea. The ‘bottom’ line is that if you want to be sure of having
no risks of heart disease, you must keep off your bottom!”

The researchers urge
further study of this topic is conducted in order to inform health policy
makers. Time spent in sedentary posture is associated with waist circumference
and cardiovascular risk is recently been published in the International
Journal of Obesity
. The research was part of Dr Tigbe’s PhD project.

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Warwick. Note: Content may be edited for
style and length.





/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;