Desk jockeys may face health problems

Being deskbound is a health hazard, particularly if you are a man.

A survey of almost 1600 full-time workers released today has found men who spend six hours a day or more sitting on the job are almost twice as likely to be overweight or obese than those who are sedentary for less than 45 minutes.

Lead researcher Professor Kerry Mummery, of the Central Queensland University in Rockhampton, said evidence shows a deskbound job is not good for you.

"If you're in a deskbound job even doing your 30 minutes a day of exercise may not protect you against being overweight or obese because it really doesn't burn enough calories," he said.

"Thirty minutes of activity compared to six hours of complete inactivity sitting is just not a fair trade."

Professor Mummery said the findings of the population-based study, published this week in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, suggested the workplace may play an important role in addressing what's being touted as the epidemic of the 21st century - weight-related disease.

Mummery said traditionally the focus had been on keeping the workplace free of accidents rather than promoting employee health.

He said it impacted more on men, than women.

The reasons are unclear but he speculates women may be burning more calories doing things like housework.

Participants in the study were from Rockhampton and Mackay, but he believed the results were reflective of the general Australian population.

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