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Doctors Warn Sitting Disease Could Become The New Smoking

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Doctors are studying a new disorder related to the dangers of sitting too long at work, and the way it could kill you.

Liza Ramirez is an office assistant in a doctor’s office where everything is conveniently within reach from her seat.

“It makes it more efficient for patient care to be in one spot,” she said.

But that efficiency can be deadly. For years, health experts have been warning about sitting disease, where sitting for long periods of time glue to your office seat, car seat, or in front of the TV could be hazardous.

Recent research ties hours of sitting to all kinds of chronic diseases, regardless of age, says Dr. Eric Tepper.

“There's a lot of research on what exactly is the pathology but it does increase mortality, it increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes,” Tepper said.

In 2014, it may be that excessive sitting is the new smoking. Tepper, a doctor of family medicine, says sitting too much leads to the deadliest diseases that Americans face.

“Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the United States, kills more people than all forms of cancer combined,” he said.

Ramirez says when she first started her job, the sitting definitely took its toll.

“I just started noticing that I was getting a lot more sluggish after work, feeling more tired than usual,” she said.

So she made changes and noticed she had more energy.

“What I always want to do is get up whenever I can even if it's just to make a copy,” she said.

She even stands sometimes at her computer.

Tepper says standing is optimum, increasing metabolic activity.

“You’re getting more circulation going through your legs, you're actually using muscles to balance yourself, it's almost impossible to stand perfectly still we're always moving when you're standing whereas sitting, you really are perfectly still,” he said.

Some offices have installed treadmills where workers use their desktop while walking at their own speed. It’s nobile, and maybe a little tricky to master, but worth it.

And that hour or so at the gym after the work isn’t enough to make up for all that sitting.

“Even if you say well, I take a jog and hour, an hour a day that doesn't negate other risk factors,” Tepper said.

He sees a difference in his patients who take time to move in any way during the day.

“The people who really have that lifelong activity, they're doing great when they're in their 90s,” he said.

Experts say every hour, you should get up and move at least 10 minutes, even if it’s just walking to get a drink of water, or strolling down a hallway

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