Skinny Daily Post


In the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, thereís an Australian study that looked at the amount of time workers sat at desks and whether it had a relationship to weight.

It seems that sitting at a desk for long periods of time Ė in this case, at least 6 hours a day Ė is associated with being overweight or obese, but only in men. Thatís right. Not in women.

The researchers’ conclusion was that the work environment may ďplay an important role in the growing problem of overweight and obesity.Ē


But one thing thatís interesting was the fact that, on average, men sat for 20 minutes MORE than women. Is it possible that even this small difference in movement could account for fewer overweight women in the study? Iím not convinced, because thereís no indication that the study looked at food consumption or caloric intake. Itís possible that the women were controlling their food intake in order to more or less maintain their weight, and the men may not have been. And outside activity is not taken into account either.

Maybe these comments are nit-picky. We all know that we have to control our intake and increase our exercise. But this item, combined with the recent study from the Mayo Clinic that fidgety people tend to be thinner than non-fidgety people (see JuJuís Fidget, Gidget from February 2005) strongly suggest that movement counts, no matter what it is.

Thereís an important lesson here, that the little things add up. We agree that those little bites and tastes add up, but how often do we stop and consider that each MOVEMENT burns a calorie? And how many times have we heard that we should exercise to relieve stress or boredom, instead of eating? Maybe we donít have to work up a sweat. Maybe instead of stress or boredom eating, we could just, hmmm, tap our foot? Jiggle a leg?

Just do SOMETHING that makes a muscle move. Well, not the muscles we use for chewing!

5 thoughts on “

  1. Lauren says:

    I would suggest that one reason women working in an office environment may move more than men in the same environment may be because men tend have more powerful jobs than women. Women are more likely to be the ones up moving around, walking around the office, photocopying, using the fax machine, etc. Meanwhile the higher you go in the corporate ladder, the more likely you are to be sitting at your desk, power lunches and endless meetings all day. The higher rungs of said ladder are generally populated (in the majority) by men.

    This comment was not meant as a feminist rant, just an observation.

  2. jonquil says:

    Indeed. Try substituting a rocking chair for a regular desk chair. The movement is soothing and comfortable. You can even get it to swivel if the runners are waxed. And it’s better for your circulation, too.

  3. allyson says:

    This makes me think of all the times I made cookies and brought the majority to work (so I could have a few homemade cookies but not be tempted by dozens of them). The men would typically clear them out before lunchtime.

  4. Greta says:

    I have started to become aware of the decrease in “excited fidgeting” with age. We are used to the notion that children are in motion a lot more than adults, but have you observed the difference between 20-somethings and 50&60-somethings? I am a 54-year old female wedding photographer and I have to be reasonably fit to do my job. The brides and grooms are mostly 20-something or 30-something. I was observing the wedding party waiting to be announced last weekend and the entire wedding party of about 14 people was almost bouncing. The bride must have been talking about the upcoming dancing and started doing a dance, hands were in motions, legs were moving. Nobody was still. If that had been a group of 60 year olds waiting to be announced the group would have been nearly still. Despite my awareness of this though, I can’t “make” myself have a higher resting energy. I DO walk daily, lift weights twice a week, and use the gym’s elliptical machine 4-5 days plus do my work and chores. I just can’t muster the energy to bounce around when I am “at rest” regardless of how good it would be for my weight. I wonder if that’s an underlying reason why people get “middle-age spread”?

  5. Liz says:

    Is this study saying that the difference between men who sit all day and men who do not was greater than the difference between women who sit all day and women who do not? Is it possible that women who don’t sit all day at work are more likely to be overweight than men who aren’t sitting all day at work, thus making the gap between the two groups of women smaller than the gap between the two groups of men? I would expect that to be true since often men who are not sitting all day are working in more active jobs with fewer opportunities to overeat. Often women who are not sitting in an office all day are stay at home moms who have their own difficulties when it comes to eating healthy.

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