Desk-chair potato is the newly coined term for those who spend most of the day sitting at work. As noted in Men’s Health, sedentary jobs have increased 83% since 1950. In the workplace of the 1980s, office workers spent 70% of their time sitting. Today it’s 93%.
Results of such changes are reflected in barometers of health. A “significant portion” of the increase in body weight by men and women in the US since 1970, for example, is attributed to the increase in sedentary jobs. Researchers found that both men and women expend 100 calories less a day on the job. This “change ... closely matched the actual change in weight for 40-50 year old men and women.”
Other changes reported in the mid-1900s, according to Men’s Health, “… found that men who sat for long periods of time at work were twice as likely to develop heart disease as were men who moved around throughout the day. English bus drivers were more likely to suffer from heart attacks than bus conductors; mail sorters were more likely to suffer from heart attacks than mailmen.”
Sitting on the job for 10 or more years doubled the risk of colon cancer and increased the risk of rectal cancer by 44% according to an Australian study.
Aside from the metabolic dis-regulation potential of on-the-job sitting, pain and musculoskeletal distress results from chair time at work. Researcher Eric Jensen notes that “The typical office worker has more musculoskeletal problems than any other industry-sector worker, including construction, metal industry and transport workers. ... One researcher’s conclusion: Sitting is as much an occupational risk as lifting heavy weights on the job. (Hettinger, 1985).”
From Un-Sit Your Life, The Reflex “Diet” Solution, Change your sitting habits, empower your life by Barbara and Kevin Kunz