An alarming study alerts overweight office workers to mortal health risks associated with sedentary behaviour.Do you spend the better part of your day sitting behind a desk? If your answer is yes, you could be risking your health. Presented at the 19th European Congress on Obesity in France this week, the study of more than 45 000 people undertaken by the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health showed that as a person’s BMI increased, so too did their risk of dying from cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Head researcher, Dr Anne Grunseit, said that people with an occupation that involved walking and lifting had a 27% lower chance of dying than someone who mostly sat while doing their jobs. This referred to people in the obese category, with a BMI higher than 30. Grunseit said mortality almost doubled from five deaths per 1000 people to 9,4 deaths per 1000 people as their weight increased from normal (BMI of 18 – 25) to obese.

The lesson, according to session moderator Dr Berit Heitmann from the Institute of Preventative Medicine in Denmark, is to get up from your desk as often as possible.
“You can do a lot of desk work actually standing. You can do meetings standing, or you could vary so that you’re not sitting all the time but actually taking a break to stand. The tone from the muscles from standing is expending energy ad may actually be contributing to the healthy factors about not sitting,” she told Medscape Medical News.