The Sedentary Life

More and more of our time is spent in watching screens – TVs, monitors and the like, whether on our couch, in an office or on the road. One way or another, many of us are spending a great deal of our time sitting or lying down in a classic sedentary pose.

The sedentary life isn’t good for us, or so we are told by the health gurus. Now, Edwardson et al have been data mining in a big way to produce a meta-data study of the tie up between sedentary living and metabolic syndrome (1). Metabolic syndrome is the term used by the medical cognoscenti to describe those of us with an apple shape (large waist measurement) couple with other risk factors to health such as high blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

The medical databases were rifled through thoroughly to yield a group of 21,393 men and women with good reliable data. About a quarter of the group were classified as having metabolic syndrome and there was no difference between men and women in the correlation of sedentary behavior and a markedly increased chance of having metabolic syndrome.

The authors of the study conclude that “it might be important to recommend a reduction in sedentary behaviors.”

To sort through the huge sets of data, select or reject data, then number crunch, check for reliability, write the paper, discuss and proof read must have involved a great deal of sedentary behavior by the reporting team. I trust they will have made up for it on the treadmills of academe since.


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