HealthWatch: Sitting Vs. Smoking

(CBS 5) – Smoking cigarettes is the cause of so much preventable, deadly disease. But now new research shows sitting for long stretches of time may be just as dangerous.

“Smoking certainly is a major cardiovascular risk factor and sitting can be equivalent in many cases,” explained Dr. David Coven, cardiologist with St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York.

Dr. Coven said several new studies show prolonged sitting is now being linked to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and even early death.

“The fact of being sedentary causes factors to happen in the body that are very detrimental,” said Dr. Coven.

Dr. Coven says when you sit for long periods of time; your body goes into storage mode,

When that happens, it stops working as effectively as it should. What’s worse, the more hours a day you sit, the greater your likelihood of developing one or more of these diseases, just as with smoking.

Linda Caufield has a desk job. She sits nearly seven hours a day.

“I’m on the computer, I’m on the phone, I’m doing paperwork so all that stuff has to be done at my desk,” she said.

Linda had no idea her desk was so deadly, noting how “sitting is probably killing me.”

Paul Golin says he was sitting up to eight hours a day. But after a recent heart health scare, he bought a “stand up” desk. It’s a contraption that rests on a treadmill.

“I turn on the treadmill and walk for about an hour a day,” said Golin.

Golin’s measures may seem extreme but so are the consequences of sitting. Dr. Coven recommeded to just get up and move when you can.

“Any time you get the blood pumping, the blood moving, it stimulates the organs to do things that are healthier,” said Coven.

If you think that hour of cardio you do every day negates the effect of your desk job, think again.

So get up at the office at any chance you get, don’t send emails when you can deliver the message in person, take the stairs, stand up when you take a phone call. And don’t forget to take your breaks, and take a walk.

To view research from American College of Cardiology, click here.

Other research on effects of sedentary behavior:

Karolinska Institutet editorial, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine

Sitting time and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease and cancer

Leisure time sedentary behavior and metabolic syndrome

Leisure time sitting and mortality in U.S. adults

Sedentary Behavior & Cancer

Sedentary Behavior & Colorectal Cancer

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • STUDY: Sitting Can Be As Deadly As Smoking... | Breaking News

    […] (First column, 1st story, link) […]

  • tim

    here we go again. another liberal study to give greedance to their existance. As get older you are going to sit more. no one has the same DNA or genes and no one has the right to tell others how to live.

    • Stefan

      Nobody’s telling you what to do, there’s no “liberal” conspiracy :) It’s just common sense. We’re talking about risk factors here. Obviously we have different genes, one can drink smoke and be a couch potato and live 80 but chances are not.

      • David Timmins

        It’s G.W.’s fault! He’s responsible for 9/11, JFK and my dog’s death!

      • Todd Dosenberry

        Just because someone recommends something to you does not mean you have to do it. Sitting is extremely detrimental to ones health. This is logical to everyone I would hope. Sitting for short periods of time are fine if you sit correctly.

        Sitting for 8 straight hours with 1 break is not at all healthy. Think back to how human beings evolved. We walk upright for a reason. If you start using your legs then your healthy will vastly improve.

        Walking is the worlds greatest exercise. Don’t wait till tomorrow. Start today. On your next break or as soon as you get home, walk for 5-10 minutes. That’s all you need for you to see what it can do for your life.

    • seenitall

      This study is full of it. I worked in Assisted Living for over a decade. All these people do is sit and they’re living on and on and on… Look in the nursing homes, Alzheimer’s unit. Sad, but true. This study is bunk.

      • fritzy

        Whether the above study is scientific could be up for question. Your “study,” seenitall, however, is not. It’s anecdotal. Besides, you’ve basically disproven your point–these elderly people that are sitting around all day are not healthy in any sense of the word.

    • lcs

      I’d say being hateful and obsessed with liberals is bad for your health as well.

      • MikeTheHammer

        100% correct, and I’m a conservative. Don’t understand why “everything” must be political for some. Great comment.

      • Jingly

        Amen man! Some people will make 2+2=4 a political argument

      • StaticKlingon

        Oh, it’s so obvious to anyone but the hopelessly naive……..”They” have raised gas prices as far as possible without fomenting a rebellion, so now that you can longer sit in your car, “They” are coming after your Lazy Boy. Along with your smokes, your sodas and your french fries. At least have the decency to buy a green chair.
        You deniers are killing the planet! We’re all gonna die!

      • StaticKlingon

        Until politicians lose the ability to use information to sway public opinion and pass laws, it’s all political.

      • RobbieK

        Uhm, you don’t sound like your part of the 52% of Americans who are Conservative, and I’m sure you are a Liberal.

      • Shawn Clark

        yup stress kills too :-)

      • Grunty

        This is just a prelude to taxing people for sitting on their duffs. Obamie has to pay for the healthcare fiasco somehow. Wonder if they will put some kind of gismo on our rears to record how long we sit.

      • shempus

        actually it is quite healthy to feel consternation for leftie miscreants. cathartic.

    • Beetle

      You do if you are a Democrat!!!!

      • Shawn Clark

        what a stupid comment. if in any way shape or form you get healthcare assistance, including individual health insurance because that spreads risk around and can raise others premiums you should be told what to do. however if your paying totally out of pocket i don’t care what you do to yourself because it doesn’t affect me. however at this point with 66% of americans being overweight many obese you lost your right to choose for yourself.

      • Jon Weiss

        Democrats do like pounding on others over nothing.

    • mac

      Relax buddy. Why don’t you just have a seat and not get so bent out of shape. Just something to think about. That’s all. But I don’t want to tell you what to do or anything.

      • zombierocket

        “But I don’t want to tell you what to do or anything.” – HAHAHAHA You just did.

    • Jordan Haas

      You sound fat.

      • P

        really fat!

    • fritzy

      Calm down there, tim–no one’s trying to take away your god-given right to sit around on your ass all day if you so choose. This is to inform you of the risk you’re taking if you do so. What you do with that info is totally up to you–right in line with your conservative values. If you want to develope a tunnelling sore on your backside, so be it. Or did the pinko scientists create the conspiracy of bed-sores too?

    • nanibold

      No one has the right to tell others how to live? Of course they don’t. And this article is obviously not trying to dictate your behaviour at all. They see health risks associated with sitting around a lot, and they report it. You yourself decide whether you want to stay sedentary or not. But you’re a moron, and would rather see it as some kind of liberal conspiracy.

      I wonder where people like you live… I’ve never met someone with your special brand of stupidity…

    • MikeTheHammer

      “greedance”? What the hell is that?

      • Jimbo Limbo

        You never heard of Greedance Glearwater Gravel Robble?

    • Snarfles

      What’s wrong with being healthy? You don’t HAVE to do it. It’s just that if you want to lead a healthier lifestyle you should move more. It’s not a political thing, it’s just common sense.

      • Dan

        Good, go be healthy and STFU – and don’t forget to work hard so you can pay for my healthcare!

    • Jack

      You’re an idiot.No one has to sit more just because they are older. No one is telling others how to live

    • Derek

      Wow Tim, you are kind of a dumb a** huh? To give “greedance?” And why does this have anything to do with liberal or conservative? Because the study warns of being sedentary? Yeah, I definitely see how warning fat Americans that being lazy is part of the liberal agenda.
      You appear to be nothing more than another impressionable underachiever who can’t distinguish between reality and the nonsense that Rush and Sean spew daily…

    • MadeleineT

      I agree, they had to tell us that knowin gwe are sitting here reading it. I won’t do that again. Stress is even more dangerous.

    • Rick

      Hmmmmm, this is a very good article. Going to link to it. Note: if you are interested in solving this very real problem, maybe take a look at , it gets very deep into how to stay fit if you are someone who has to spend a lot of time sitting.

  • Joe Doakes

    How many of you just stood up?

    • Tom Kron

      Studies also show half of all heart attacks occur to obese people getting up out of their chairs.

    • MadCharles

      What freedoms are they after now ?

      • Joe Doakes

        Your God given right to do absolutely nothing!

  • DusterMH53J

    I guess we sitting smokers are scr*wed.

    • Joe

      yea we are now get up off your fat a** and grab another Dagwood

    • MR

      Thats why we get up for smoke breaks. So, if you get up to smoke it offsets the bad sitting. Works for me. Now if we can only find a study that proves drinking beer at work improves productivity.

  • Tommy Boy

    Do These Friggin Lib’s Ever Give Up? What Next?

    • Joe Doakes

      This is obvious . . .

      Standing may is dangerous! We must stop standing! We must pass a law!

      • gringgrong

        This isn’t politics. It’s about being healthy. Stop politicizing that which never was.

      • Marc M

        If you believe it isn’t political than I have a few bridges to sell you.

        Looking forward to peddle to watch your tv?

      • reg

        So being an unhealthy fat a$$ is now part of the GOP platform?

    • MikeTheHammer

      I’m a conservative, but I suggest that if you don’t like this, sit down and have a cigarette. We could use more room in the gene pool.

    • AK

      As a conservative, let me say that you are an idiot. Article is only pointing out that it’s healthy to not sit and to get off your butt. When Obama/Pelosi read this and try to pass a law banning chairs in the workplace and home and/or create a govt mandate to buy one of those treadmill desks mentioned in the article, that is when the liberalism kicks in.

      • Jeff

        Well said.

  • Buddy Gorman

    Wonder who paid for this bit of bull*hit. Probably the taxpayers. Farting fouls the air and this study smells of “give me some free money.”

    • Tom Kron

      Who paid For This::: The Same International Mega Corporation Washington Lobbyists That Draft All Our Laws and Kill Our Soldiers in Foreign Corporate Ground Wars. Right?

  • Fredx

    Let this be a warning to people in wheelchairs.

    • Dave the Brit


  • John

    What about second hand sitting?! Is that dangerous? Will Bloomberg out law sitting? Can’t wait.

    • mark

      Ha ha ha ha. I laughed out loud when I read your comment, very well done.

    • StaticKlingon

      Butt tax now! Do it for the children!

      • Dreamtime

        OMGosh! @StaticKlingon That was a great comment!
        Butt Tax
        LMAO, then I stood up, and dropped my cigarette!

    • Merlot

      This made me laugh right out loud, Amen!

  • zombierocket

    Such BS….

    • 666

      pfft! scientists! what do they know?!?

  • Cabbie

    Who is Dr Coven? Why should we care what he says? All the article says is that Dr Coven is a cardiologist, but gives no specifics, such as from where he graduated, where he practices (does he practice?), or whether he has ever been published. Other than that, the article’s sources are two random people who like to sit. This is shoddy.

    • zombierocket

      Well to be fair, click here:

      But… so what. 100,000 other cardiologists will say something different.

      • Stefan

        I’m afraid not. All they will recommend moderate physical activity

    • Dreamtime

      Being a Physician seems to be the ONLY occupation where you can just take a guess, perscribe narcotics, and suggest manditory proceedures that effect lives, and people will believe you without any supporting studies, facts, or examples. I thought Psychiatrists were probably the worst of the bunch, but this takes the cake.
      This is a lame report, of course sitting on your duff will eventually cause health issues, usually it is just a fat A$$.

  • Uncle Bernie

    more stupid nanny state leftist bs.

    • Tom Kron

      Study failed to disclose that the unscientific study was bought and paid for by the “Ronco Vibrating Exerciser Chair”, only 99,99 at a Chinamart near you.

  • Michael

    So using the same logic behind the regulations and taxation of smoking, can we expect a tax on sitting in public places soon? Maybe a ban on all public benches? The great and all knowing government does know whats best and has an obligation to look out for those that don’t know better.

    • Dreamtime

      Good suggestion Michael :D
      Ban Public Benches and Toilets, Yeah!!!
      Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for anyone to sit around. Hee Hee.
      What’s next a breathing tax?
      Opening your eyes can be damaging to your health?
      Opening your mouth seems to be risking your health and the welfare of others too.
      Let’s tax talking.
      These studies are so ridiculous!

  • William Gates

    Quick, let’s pass a law that requires all U.S. citizens to purchase a gym membership. This will reduce the cost of health care because people will now have access to a gym. For those of you that don’t think the Gov’t can’t make a U.S. citizen purchase something, they have already passed the Healthcare law that mandates you buy health insurance so why not this? For those of you that think the government mandating a gym membership is a good idea, please look beyond this and ask “what else are they going to force me to do?”

    • zombierocket

      Not just gym memberships, but gym memberships at gyms owned by the banks…

      • William Gates

        Yes, and lets not forget to include that the gym must be unionized “green” gyms as well. :)

    • michael

      They could force all businesses to purchase stand up desks, or to implement an exercise program into the day. The possibilities are endless which is what makes obamacare such a dangerous slippery slope.

    • chris

      o like car insurance? or do you mean a yearly car registration? or were you referring to school taxes that force even people without kids to contribute to the public school system? don’t be crazy an act like this is the first thing the government has ever made you buy, if i had more time i could make a list as long as this article of things the government already makes you buy

      • Kevin

        The government does not force you to buy car insurance or car registration because they don’t force you to buy a car. Forcing the purchase of heath insurance is different because to be exempt you have to choose not to live (assuming you are not associated with one of Obama’s union masters).

      • Kevin

        …and you don’t have to pay taxes, if you choose not to work (or at least not make too much money working). I bet a significant portion of people okay with Government mandated health insurance pay an insignificant portion of the taxes needed to support it.

  • sailordude

    That sitting woman’s head is completely flat on top! That’s amazing. Reminds me of the joke of having a place to put your beer can at.

  • Beach

    Tim’s comment: spoken from a true lazy obese man.

    • Michele

      Beach..enough with the hate and intolerance.

  • gracepmc

    New Restaurant Policy — No Smoking, No Sitting. New Michelle Obama Approved Menu.

  • hiram dunlop

    i bet every one of you are fat

    • William Gates

      Because we are against being controlled? I am not fat, I play hockey and soccer, but let’s just pretend that I am for now. I would rather be fat and free than skinny and enslaved.

      • Stefan

        It’s a doctor’s recommendation, simple as that. There’s no hint in this article that a law will be put in place for you to stand.
        All the comments here just give conservatives/drudge readers a bad name.

    • Michael

      Insults are the last resort of the ignorant.

      • kunta_kinte

        haha fat is not an insult it’s our constitutional right!!! You’ll have to pry my lazy-boy from my cold, dead (from heart disease) hands!

        ps: this whole thing is my favorite news article comment thread I have ever read. I love America

    • Linda

      I’m not fat, but my cardiologist is.

  • StaticKlingon

    When chairs are outlawed, only outlaws will have chairs.

    • Michael


  • Health, medical, and science updates, fitness, wellness, nutrition, health care

    […] Pages 292-299 (abstract here) that is getting some play today because the Drudge Report picked up a story that ran on CBS San […]

  • TL

    Guys I’m just as, if not more conservative than the anyone, but I truly do not get why you all are making this a political thing. This is a medical / science thing. If you do not agree with it then do your own research and come up with facts to support your hypothesis. Anyone who argues with science without scientific evidence to support their argument sounds pretty dumb. And it is common sense that sitting at your desk all day is bad for your health. I don’t need a doctor to tell me that.

    • Conservative to a Tea

      Because this is CBS. a division of Soros Nazi machine ( obama’s puppeteer) and it furthers his agenda.
      Now do you understand?

    • William Gates

      I am not disagreeing with the science of it. I don’t think it is really news that sitting in one spot for 40+ hours a week is good for a persons health. I think we are showing our cynicism in the article and looking ahead to what Congress does best, find a way to further control, for the good of the people of course (removing tongue from cheek)

      • Stefan

        Do you realize this is not a political debate? People need to chill out.

    • michael

      Because reports like this are used to justify new laws under the guise of protecting the general public. I’m personally not arguing against the science of this study. The results of her study should be rather obvious. But there are those in our government that think they know better than the rest of us lowly constituents and use these reports as justification.

      • Charlie Harper

        Please feel free to sit.

      • Michele

        Michael, you are right. It all starts out with “INobody’s telling you what to do”… I see manadatory gym memberships and fines if you don’t get one….you know, like health insurance. I can see a brown shirt checking off my “gym time card” as I exit the building. BTW all of you…”I’m a conservative, but……….” Save it. You’re tools. Lemmings.

      • Red

        Uh… who says there are going to be ‘new laws’ in this regard?

        Jumping the gun a bit, aren’t you?

    • Zerocarbman

      Because, unfortunately, the message of “movement for health” is way, way overplayed…..Reduce the carbs, and watch just about ALL health issues dissappear. I was fat and very active, now I am a very low carber….sit at a desk ALL day, and have perfect health.

      The Gov., as with many things, has led us astray…

  • Rich

    I smoke while sitting…

  • xmlrider

    Wait a second… the doctor at the top of the article is…. *gasp*… SITTING at her desk… OMG… everything is twisted. Up is Down… Left is Right… cats and dogs sleeping together. Mass Hysteria!

  • Razor

    Somewhere in TX, Dubya is drinking cheap beer and laughing his azz off.

    • Conservative to a Tea

      Thanks to Obama, there is no such thing as cheap beer anymore. Sad but true.

    • Charlie Harper

      What else does he have to do? He killed enough people to last the rest of his life.

      • Sean

        ^ bush derangment syndrome is a serious condition. How many has Obumbler killed by your logic? What are we at, three, four wars now? Sit down and have a smoke friendo.

  • Heather Rouillard

    Check out for tips on how to stand more throughout the day.

  • Ponyks

    This article brought to you by the makers of “The Stand Up Desk” . If you act NOW you will not DIE!

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