Beware, Active Couch Potatoes

Active couch potatoes — people who sit for hours daily, but still get enough exercise — are living a common lifestyle that puts them at risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and death. Dale Bond opened the annual Weight Management Symposium of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in St Louis yesterday with a compelling presentation of the risks of sitting and emerging strategies to reduce them.Sitting Time and Physical Activity

Data just published in BMC Public Health indicates that high sitting time paired with sufficient physical activity is the daily pattern for 60% of  the Australian population. Only 11% of the population had both low daily sitting time and sufficient physical activity. A recent publication comparing the epidemiology of sitting across 20 countries shows very similar patterns of sedentary behaviors in the U.S. and Australia.

The top three countries for excessive sitting times in the international study were Japan, Taiwan, and Norway. The three countries with the least prevalence of excessive sitting were Brazil, Portugal, and Columbia.

Bond presented strategies for reducing the risks of sitting and new data from the B-MOBILE study that show the strategies can work. B-MOBILE uses a smartphone app to prompt breaks in dangerous bouts of sitting.

There’s poetry in this solution. A small glowing rectangle to tell you to stop sitting and staring at the big glowing rectangle on your desk.

Click here for Bond’s presentation, here for the study from BMC Public Health, here for the international comparison of sedentary behaviors, and here for more on the subject from ConscienHealth.

Assorted Potatoes, photograph © Lotte Grønkjær / flickr

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