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Is Sedentary Behavior America’s Biggest Health Risk?

By Heather Tourville
Most people know that sitting for long periods of time probably isn’t good for their health, but few people really understand just what a widespread health risk, long-term sedentary behavior really is. According to University of South Carolina research scientist Steven Blair, physical inactivity is almost certainly “the biggest health problem we have in [this] country.”

Just how big a problem is sedentary behavior? According to some research, four hours of sedentary behavior in a row is enough to undo all the benefits of one hour of exercise. Considering that many working Americans sit at their desk all day long only to go home and watch TV on the couch, the long-term effects of sedentary behavior are a pressing issue that is having a big impact on the U.S. workforce.

So, what can be done? While care for an individual’s health ultimately rests with that individual, workplaces can help encourage healthy behavior, and modify their policies so that employees aren’t sitting for long periods without a short break. Some of the steps businesses can take to discourage sedentary behavior include:

  • Holding stand-up meetings and allowing employees to use stand-up desks
  • Providing exercise machines or creating space for employees to get physical activity
  • Allowing employees to take short “walking breaks” once every one or two hours to stretch their legs
  • Instituting a workplace health program.

Company wellness programs like those offered by Wellsource help businesses and their employees improve their lives and save money on health costs. For more information, contact Wellsource today at 800-533-9355.


  1. http://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/news/14049773/tips-for-better-workplace-health-get-off-your-butt-more

Tags: Workplace health tips, Workplace health news

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Don Hall, DrPH, CHES, Founder Wellsource