Is work killing you? How to reduce on-the-job health risks


by KING 5 HealthLink

Posted on March 4, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM

Is your job killing you? It may sound like an exaggeration, but new research suggests sitting all day can put you at a greater risk for heart disease. There are solutions other than quitting that can help reduce that risk.

"I sit at a desk a lot. More than 8 hours a day," said Michiel Arrington, who works in an office setting.
Arrington is not alone. Millions spend the work day stuck at a desk, planted for hours.

Surprising new research suggests office jobs are slowly killing people.A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed people who sat more than six hours a day were more likely to die than those who sat less than three hours a day.

"I think what the study suggests is not about how much you move. It's about how much you don't move, said Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Blue Cross Blue Shield's chief medical officer.

A similar study from Australia showed people who sit a long time without breaks are at higher risk for heart disease. What's really surprising is that time in the gym didn't matter.
"We're on conference calls a lot and I do use that time to stand up, give myself a break," said Arrington.

And that may be one of the healthiest things Michiel does.

"Every so often, getting up, moving your body around is probably beneficial above and beyond the 30 or 45 minutes you may be working out most days of the week in the gym," said Sanchez.

Workers at Blue Cross/Blue Shield  lap the second floor during breaks, and some, like Michiel signed up for a pilot program to get healthier.

"I lost 20 pounds in the 10 week program, and lost another 15 pounds since the program ended, so 35 pounds," said Arrington.

The strain of work, through, whether at a desk or not, also hurts women. Doctors say women in jobs with high demand and little control are 40-percent more likely to suffer heart disease.

"The high paced environment, the expectations, the deadlines, the things you have to meet in order to stay in your hob, I think creates a high level of stress that can indirectly lead to the development of heart disease," said Cardiologist Sreenivas Gudimetla.

The best advice: stay active on the job. Even a little movement can help you get ahead of heart disease.