Medical Minute 11-3: Death by Desk: Is Your Job Killing You?

By: Vanessa Welch Email
By: Vanessa Welch Email

This is how the day begins at Skanska, an international project development and construction company. Instead of coffee and donuts.

It's bending and stretching. Senior director for business development Deborah Ippolito is leading the morning routine.

"We all have a tendency to sit at our desks all day long. We stretch, we get energize in our bodies."

And for good reason. New research shows people who sit at their desk all day are at an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, even an early death. One study from the American Cancer Society showed people who sat more than six hours a day were at least 18 percent more likely to die than those who sat less than three hours a day. That's why Dr. Michael Roizen is taking steps to combat the problem with a treadmill desk at work. If that's not an option, here's some tips to keep your desk from killing you.

First get moving. Don't send emails when you can deliver the message, stand up when you take a phone call and when you take a break, get outside and take a walk. Other things to watch out for? Your eyes.

Karin Mora can't help but stare intensely at her work computer.

"You focus so much on what you're reading that you don't think to blink."

To beat the strain that can lead to headaches and blurred vision, take 'blink' breaks, to give your eyes a rest. Lowering your risk of "death by desk".

For more information on other series produced by Ivanhoe Broadcast News contact John Cherry at (407) 691-1500,


WHAT IS PHYSICAL INACTIVITY? Physical activity is bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. Physical inactivity is responsible for 6 percent of deaths worldwide and is estimated to the be the main cause for approximately 21 to 25 percent of breast and colon cancers, 27 percent of diabetes and about 30 percent of ischemic heart disease. (SOURCE:

• Weight control
• Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease
• Strengthens bones and muscles
• Improves mental health and mood
• Reduces risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome

RECOMMENDATIONS: It is suggested that children ages 5 to 17 should partake in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily through play, sports, games, physical education and even chores. For adults, ages 18 to 65 years old, at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise through out the week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity through the week, or a combination of both. Examples of physical activity include walking, dancing, gardening, hiking and biking. For adults older than 65 years old, the amount of recommended physical activity is the same as the 18 to 65 year old age group. Physical activity improves balance in older adults and prevents falls.

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