Is Sitting Really the New Smoking?

Is Sitting Really the New Smoking

Our lifestyles have changed drastically over the past 100 years and today we lead a far more sedentary lifestyle than we ever have.  Many of our jobs today involve spending hours sitting at a desk rather than doing physical labor.  That has had a huge impact on our health and the lifestyle we live.  So much so that sitting has been referred to as the new smoking, but is sitting really the new smoking or is it just buzzwords?  Let’s look at the impact all of this sitting does have on our health.

Using Less Energy

Sitting uses far less energy than moving around or even standing and research has linked this to a variety of health concerns.  We as a population are growing more obese and that brings with it a number of health conditions.  We suffer from high blood pressure, higher blood sugar levels, higher body fat percentage and higher than normal cholesterol levels.  All of that interferes with the proper function of our metabolic systems resulting in too much sitting putting people at greater risk for heart attack and stroke. Here are some of the other effects of too much sitting.

Countering the Effects of Sitting

It is not just office workers that spend long periods of time sitting, whether you spend 8 hours per day behind a desk or behind the wheel it can be harmful to your health.  There have been a number of studies done on people who spend more than 8 hours each day with no physical activity had an increased risk of health issues, similar to those who are smokers or morbidly obese.

All is not lost however; you can counter the effect of your day job and lower your risk of disease.  With 60-75 minutes of moderately intense physical activity you can counter the effect of sitting for that length of time.  While more studies may be needed on just how our sedentary lifestyles are affecting our health, one fact is indisputable and that is more physical activity is better for us.  Here are some examples on how you can combat too much sitting.

  • Take regular breaks to walk around
  • Try a standing desk if possible
  • Stand when you are talking on the phone
  • Go for walks on lunch breaks

Movement is necessary to our health even moderate movement can help cut the risks of heart disease and obesity.  It will help burn more calories and boost energy levels.  Physical activity is necessary to maintain your muscles, bone health and even your mental health.

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The Impact of Different Cultures on Health Care

The Impact of Different Cultures on Health Care

America is a melting pot and for health care providers navigating through different cultures while trying to provide quality health care can be a challenge.  You don’t want to offend a patient nor do you want participate in something that goes against your personal beliefs.  Everything from making eye contact with a patient to how decisions are made can vary a great deal within different cultures.  Often we forget the impact of different cultures on health care.  There are ways to help with patient interactions when it comes to different cultures.

Here are three ways to have better patient interactions involving different cultures:

Asking for Clarification

If you have any doubts about how you should proceed then your safest option is to ask.  There are cultural and religious practices that you may not even be aware of during your initial assessment.  Many people from different cultures within the United States live in a community that filled with people from their own culture, they are used to educating health professionals on how they would like their care delivered.  All you have to do is let them know that you are willing to learn.

Being Aware

As caregivers you need to be aware of your own personal biases and cultural beliefs.  This allows for anyone in the health care field identify and put a stop to things like oppression, discrimination, racism and harmful stereotypes.  While you may judge someone else’s practices as primitive or superstitious, within that culture these rituals may have a deep cultural or symbolic meaning.


Promoting healing starts with accepting patients as they are, complexities and all.  Through the act of accepting a patient and their cultural beliefs you are allowing the patient to feel empowered during a time of personal crisis.  Patients need to know that medical staff is invested in their well-being and that allows them to speak about symptoms, how they have dealt with them. Patients and caregivers can go forward to choose the path of medical treatment.

As we go forward in the health care industry there is a growing trend that gives patients more involvement and ultimately more choices in their own health care practices.  Being aware of other cultures and their practices is more than just an emergency room encounter it is also providing ongoing care at the family physicians office.  Through deliberate awareness and respect of other cultures and beliefs the health care providers can give superior care to each and every patient they deal with.

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