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The New York Times Realizes That Sitting At Work Makes Us Fatter

Stop the presses, because our jobs no longer require physical labor and it's making us fat, according to a story in the The New York Times.

With fewer farms, mills and manufacturing plants to make us sweat for calories-burning reasons, we've become much softer around the middle than our ancestors. Maybe the lack of movement at work is lowering the number of calories burned on the job and is thus impacting the national obesity rate? Yes, and it's a trend! The workplace is a "new source" of fatness! One expert in the article calls it a "lightbulb, 'aha' moment."

A lightbulb moment? Really? I mean, many of us have been sitting on our collective behinds in front of a computer screen ever since we saw Wargames and that really cool Apple commercial. Companies specialize in extra-wide office chairs and extra-large business suits these days to accommodate our enhanced figures. At the rate we're going, we'll eventually be floating around on levitating chairs while glued to computer screens just like the characters in Wall-E.

But now that the nation's paper of record deems the workplace a "new source" of obesity, we can expect an onslaught of media stories this week informing us that our sedentary work life has been making us fatter over the decades. I suspect most employees have already figured this out. A long time ago. By the way, the person who wrote this story probably researched and wrote it while sitting down for hours in front of a computer. Just saying.

One of the experts interviewed for the article says, "It's very obvious that the jobs that required a lot of physical activity have gone away." Yes, to other countries as we've off-shored our manufacturing capabilities over the last few decades to become a sedentary, hipster "knowledge workforce." As a society, we've also come to undervalue the very jobs that require hard, physical labor -- the blue collar, skilled trade, "shower after work" kind of jobs that burn more calories in an hour than the typical knowledge worker burns in a week. We encourage little Johnny (and Jane) to go to college and get a right and proper office job in front of a computer instead of becoming a high-end cabinetry maker or a busy landscape worker. The Freshman 15 eventually morphs into the Office Trainee 20. Are we really all that surprised by this?

How have our changing attitudes and perceptions toward work and what constitutes a "good" job impacted the obesity epidemic? Will we begin to place more value on jobs that require higher levels of physical labor as a way to fight the obesity epidemic? These are interesting questions that could elicit a few trendy "aha moments" of their own.


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