Is your job making you fat?

Oct 05, 2010

Working nine-to-five may be the way to make a living, but it may be padding more than the wallet. According to a new study from the Université de Montréal, office-workers have become less active over the last three decades and this decreased activity may partly explain the rise in obesity. Their findings, published in the early online edition of Preventive Medicine, may have health implications for the millions of people toiling behind their desks.

"People eat better and exercise more today than they did in the 1970's, yet rates continue to rise," says lead author Carl-Étienne Juneau a researcher at the Université de Montréal Department of Social and Preventive Medicine. "My hypothesis is that our professional life is linked to this seemingly contradictory phenomenon."

Activity: From the 70's to now

Juneau and his colleagues used several Statistics Canada databases on the health of Canadians that included 17,000 to 132,000 respondents. He concluded that the lack of physical activity during office hours could explain the fact that obesity has increased 10 percent between 1978 and 2004.

A surprise findings was the increased healthy attitudes toward transportation. "As a result of urban sprawl we expected to see more car-dependant people," says Juneau. "Yet, both men and women increasingly adopted healthy behaviours such as walking and biking, which is definitely good news."

Quick bursts of activity may be the solution

Juneau suggests that to combat the inactivity and rise in obesity it would be best to integrate sport, work and transportation. For example, it may be more effective to exercise in smaller doses throughout the day rather than concentrate the effort. Therefore, walking at break time and taking the stairs could have great benefits.

Juneau also believes that the promotion and marketing of exercise can be tweaked. " can't just be an individual thing anymore. We must focus on groups. For instance, there are now tax credits for parents who register their child in a recognized physical education course. A similar program could be developed in the workplace for employees."

Explore further: Preterm children's brains can catch up years later

More information: Preventive Medicine: www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00917435

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

22-year study finds adults aren't active enough

May 12, 2009

A new study has sounded the alarm that the majority of Canadian adults are inactive over their lifespan and don't exercise enough during their leisure time. Published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition an ...

Children living near green spaces are more active

Mar 12, 2009

Children at high risk of obesity who live near parks and recreation areas are apt to participate in walking activities more often, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's Conference on Nutrition, Physical ...

Disordered eating may affect 10 to 15 percent of women

Dec 18, 2009

Several maladaptive eating behaviors, beyond anorexia, can affect women. Indeed, some 10 to 15 percent of women have maladaptive eating behaviours and attitudes according to new study from the Université de Montréal ...

Recommended for you

Older adults are at risk of financial abuse

44 minutes ago

Nearly one in every twenty elderly American adults is being financially exploited – often by their own family members. This burgeoning public health crisis especially affects poor and black people. It merits the scrutiny ...

Medical internet could transform health care

54 minutes ago

The medical Internet is not yet here, but the widespread availability of electronic medical records and enhanced data-storage capabilities are pushing it closer to reality. As now envisioned, this new cyberspace ...

Better care for transgender youth

1 hour ago

A fact sheet on ways to improve the wellbeing of transgender youth in New Zealand has been developed at the University of Auckland.

User comments : 0