Sedentary behavior trends in the US


By John DiTraglia



Somewhere I read that the average office worker spends 25% of his working time doing e-mail. I’m not sure whether I am actually an office worker but I am hopelessly behind in dealing with my e-mail and I don’t know what to do about it other than budget a lot more time at some point in the future. Not now. I hate it. So sitting, or standing if you have one of those desks that is supposed to turn office work into exercise but is not really helpful, is one of those scourges of modern life.

And then there’s all that sitting during your time off while you are worrying about the backlog of work. In a nationally representative survey of the US population from 2001 through 2016, it was found that the estimated prevalence of sitting watching television or videos for at least 2 hours per day generally remained high and stable. The estimated prevalence of computer use during leisure-time increased among all age groups, and the estimated total sitting time increased among adolescents and adults. (1) Moreover, the prevalence of use of computers during leisure time of 1 hour per day or more significantly increased among all age groups with more pronounced increases among adults. This is on top of that sedentary time spent in work and commuting that has also been documented to be increasing.

The 2018 Global Action Plan on Physical Activity has adopted sedentary behavior reduction as one of the strategies for global chronic disease prevention and control. (2) Cavemen and ancient Romans and medieval serfs didn’t have this problem. It’s probably anathema to human nature. Having to waste more time and pain exercising to try and counteract this affliction is just that much more grief.

So my solution to this modern hassle is to put pedals in my car to add however tiny an increased mileage to my commute to work and soccer practice etc. etc. Watch out and don’t drive over me out there in the street in my low profile electric pedal sports car. I’ve got that much figured out but I’m still trying to invent a way to get though my e-mails while I’m driving. Wait a second. I know, self driving cars with pedals and a pedal electric generator under my desk at work to recharge my car battery.

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By John DiTraglia

1. Yang L. et al. Trends in sedentary behavior among the US population, 2001-2016. JAMA. 2019;321(16):1587-97. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.3636

2. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/ncds/prevention/physical-activity/global-action-plan-2018-2030/en/

1. Yang L. et al. Trends in sedentary behavior among the US population, 2001-2016. JAMA. 2019;321(16):1587-97. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.3636

2. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/ncds/prevention/physical-activity/global-action-plan-2018-2030/en/