Bob Goldman

don't know about you, but my next job is going to be located in Malta.

I'm not picking the tiny archipelago in the center of the Mediterranean Sea because of its cuisine, which features -- mmm! -- stewed rabbit or for the teeny-tiny, ultra-cute doggies that stole its name. I'm moving to Malta because Malta is the country that has the world's largest population of couch potatoes -- a slug-fantastic 72 percent! That's 67 percent better than the most active country -- Bangladesh -- and 30 percent better than the good old USA (so much for American exceptionalism.)

The issue of activity, and the lack of it, is in the news. A number of recent articles published in scientific journals suggest a connection between people who spend more time sitting and people who spend less time dying. To put it bluntly -- the more you sit, the more likely you are to croak.

According to Carl Bialik, who wrote an article on the sitting situation for "The Wall Street Journal," "sitting too long each day could shave two years off one's lifespan." Of course, no one is quite sure "whether the act of sitting itself is deadly." The people who are not sitting at their desks could be out in nature, breathing fresh air, exercising and therefore, staying far away from abusive managers and insane deadlines. That's got to add a few years to anyone's life. 

So how did the eggheads discover that too much sitting is bad for you? The author of one sitting study, Peter Katzmarzyk, "pooled epidemiological evidence linking sitting with early death in what is known as a meta-analysis." After crunching the numbers, the meta-result of the meta-analysis has yet to prove that "there is an actual link between sedentary behavior and mortality."

Of course, you and I don't need a fancy research study to know there is absolutely no question about the actual link between sedentary behavior and employment.

If your boss doesn't see you sitting at your desk eight or 15 hours a day, you will soon be extending your lifespan by standing in line at the unemployment office. This leads to a real dilemma. Do you do the healthy thing and avoid your desk chair, or do you do the thing that is healthy to your income and glue yourself to your chair 24/7?

Before you toss your desk chair out the window, you should consider that the reason the sitters in the study died before the movers and the shakers might have been "some underlying disease that curtailed the lives of survey respondents who sat more." On the other hand, you know you already have at least one of these underlying diseases -- chronic laziness or, as it is known in the medical world, clinical goof-off-itis. 

Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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