Occupational Sitting or Leisure Time Sitting: Guess Which Is Worse For Your Heart?


In finding out which is worse between sitting at home or at work, researchers from the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York City, NY, found that leisure time sitting is potentially more harmful than occupational sitting

The study, done for 8.5 years with 3592 African American adult participants residing in Jackson, Mississippi, was conducted to determine the associations of leisure and nonleisure types of sedentary behavior (TV viewing and occupational sitting) with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and all‐cause mortality

Statistical analysis showed that people who reported sitting and watching TV for 4 or more hours each day had a 50% higher risk of cardiovascular problems and premature death compared with individuals who sat in front of the television for 2 hours or less per day

It has also been known that Blacks have a greater risk for CVD morbidity/mortality at all ages and a lower life expectancy by 5 years compared with their white counterparts. Nevertheless, researchers believe that despite the specificity of the study cohort, the findings could apply to everyone, regardless of ethnicity

According to study author Keith Diaz, Ph.D, the findings show that how you spend your time outside of work may matter more when it comes to heart health

Their conclusion was television viewing was associated with greater risk of CVD events and all‐cause mortality, while occupational sitting had no association with these outcomes. These findings suggest that minimizing television viewing may be more effective for reducing CVD and mortality risk in blacks compared with reducing occupational sedentary behavior

Keith Diaz comments “Even if you have a job that requires you to sit for long periods of time, replacing the time you spend sitting at home with strenuous exercise could reduce your risk of heart disease and death,”

This surprising distinction leads to the recommendation that people especially blacks, since they are at higher risk, should minimize tv viewing during leisure time in order to improve their health and eliminate the risk of CVD or death. In addition to that, intense leisure time physical activities should be encouraged