Sitting Is the New Smoking; Can Offices Adapt?

A presentation at this week's TED conference in Long Beach by business writer Nilofer Merchant explored the "quiet crisis of sore butts," and the sobering public health impacts, reports Ryan Tate.
star5112 / Flickr

"We’re sitting around too much at the office and particularly in meetings, says Merchant, a corporate director and former Autodesk executive. In classic TED fashion, Merchant found time in her short talk for a generous helping of statistics: People spend 9.3 hours per day on their derrieres, eclipsing even the 7.7 hours they spend sleeping. Their sedentary lifestyles contribute 10 percent of the risk of breast and colon cancer, 6 percent of the risk of heart disease, and 7 percent of the risk of type 2 diabetes."

“Sitting is so incredibly prevalent that we don’t even question how much we’re doing it ,” Merchant told the TED audience. “And because everyone else is doing it, it doesn’t even occur to us that it’s not OK. In that way, sitting has become the smoking of our generation.”

According to Tate, Merchant "swears by the practice of holding 'walk and talk' meetings," a concept that's found some influential adherents in Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-creator Jack Dorsey. This growing trend in "butt liberation" could provide even more impetus for planners and designers to incorporate walkability into their projects.

Full Story: In Silicon Valley, Sitting Is the New Smoking

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