Screen of death?

If you're reading this, you're a brave man or woman indeed. Yes, you're one of life's risk takers. But before you start picturing yourself alongside the likes of a highwire walker, trapeze artist or sky diver, a little context is required.

It seems that working in computers is, in itself, a potentially life threatening occupation, and that the more time you spend working in front of computers, the most dangerous it is. Who would have though that field sales would have been less dangerous than programming, for example, or even accounts? Turns out it is, at least if a recent study by Emmanuel Stamatakis at University College London is to be believe.

The study found people spending four or more hours in front of a screen (TV or computer) had a 48% higher risk of mortality (death) and the risk of heart-related disease was more than doubled for anyone who spent more than two hours sitting watching TV, playing a video game or in front of a computer.

The only caveat I have is that the study was based on respondents to the Scottish Health Survey 2003. As a Scot even I know Scotland is a country infamous for its unhealthy diet. So much so, I wouldn't be surprised if some people thought adding crisps to a plate of sandwiches was a potato salad.

Anyway, just to be on the safe side, it might be a good idea to get up and stretch your legs a bit. Go get a cup of tea or coffee - and don't take the lift.

This was first published in January 2011

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