How to ensure Perfect BMI – even when in a Sedentary Job!

Perfect BMI in A Sedentary Job

Those sitting for long hours at work need to pay some attention to the recent research demonstrating the link between prolonged work hours and death from metabolic diseases, cardiac arrest, and other causes. Low exercising can do little to help. Though there have been multiple studies conducted, the research focuses on the effects of sedentary behaviour, such as lying down or sitting to chronic diseases and obesity. Modern day employees work 9 hours daily or longer with less than 20% jobs including, some form of physical exertion. Most people spend minimum 4 hours at work, sitting in their cubicles or desks.

Medical studies on BMI and occupational sedentary living

Perfect BMI is good for Cardiovascular health

The study undertaken at Sydney University, Australia with their Norwegian colleagues researched the link between mortality, body mass index (BMI), and occupational sitting in population general sample (45,259), from 1995-1997. It evaluated patients in the 20 years age group from Norway, dividing them in following categories:

  • Walking much at work
  • Mostly sitting
  • Much lifting or walking
  • Serious physical labour

It involved self-reporting of the sitting level at work by the patients. Stratification was based upon the BMI,

  • 5 to less than 25 Kg/sq. m, healthy
  • 25 to less than 30 Kg/sq. m, overweight
  • 30 Kg/sq. m or more, obese

Among the study group 30% participants admitted to have a mostly sitting occupation. As the BMI increases from the normal to obese, the all-cause mortality gradually increases as well, with 5.0 for the healthy, 6.8 for overweight and 9.4 deaths for the obese people respectively per 1000 person-years.  There were similar trends found for mortality related to metabolic disease/CV with deaths per 1000 person-years being 1.8, 2.8, 4.4 respectively for normal, overweight, and obese persons. Following adjustment for variable like BMI, education, general health, cardiac disease, smoking status, sex, hard and light exercise the researchers found a link between metabolic disease/cardiac arrest that lead to higher mortality.

This was in comparison to the occupations involving significant lifting, walking or hard physical labour. The risk of all-cause mortality increased with the BMI for occupational activity all levels. For the employees with healthy BMI, over time mortality curves were same for each activity level with separation based on activity levels with increasing BMI. The greatest risk is for the sedentary workers belonging to obese range.

For example, someone in active occupation with lifting and walking involved has 27% lower mortality rate, compared to someone in obese category, with sedentary occupation. The chances of death from cardiovascular disease is one-third, among the overweight participants, and is 45% low in obese participants, having lifting and walking occupations. Thus, the results showed that:

  • Overweight and obese people benefit from low sitting jobs, as they are in higher mortality risk group.
  • Spend more time at work standing.
  • Use stability ball and not chair for engaging core muscles when sitting.
  • Take frequent stand breaks when you have sedentary job to allow muscles expend energy.

For those looking to enhance their health need to eat a balanced diet, exercise moderately and live an active lifestyle. It may sound difficult for those in sedentary jobs, but taking your first step is important for your own well-being.

Post Author: Anita Choudhary

Anita Choudhary is one of our senior writers, with a full 11 years of experience writing about a myriad of subjects. She's well informed and a thorough in her research, and pens actionable articles about fitness, health and wellness. She focuses on adding value to the content, and through the content she creates.