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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: Sitting at Work Linked to Obesity in Black Women

Occupational sitting is associated with an increased likelihood of obesity among Black women, according to new research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

[Photo: Dr. J. Aaron Hipp]

Researchers conducted telephone interviews with 1,891 residents of four metropolitan areas in Missouri in 2012-13. They were asked questions that included how much time they spent sitting at work, their height and weight. Analysis was controlled for education and income.

Black women who reported spending more than 30 minutes sitting per day at work were 2.5 times as likely to be obese as those who reported sitting for 30 minutes or less. The association between sitting and obesity was not reflected among men or White women.

Researchers theorized that sitting might not affect men in the same way because they are more active in leisure-time physical activity.  The stronger relationship between sitting and obesity among Black women may be due to factors such as food eaten at home, perceptions of body ideals or lower resting metabolic rates.

“More attention should be paid to developing interventions that reduce levels of sedentary behavior in a worksite setting,” said Dr. J. Aaron Hipp, Assistant Professor at the Brown School and a co-author of the study.

The study was published November 20 in Preventing Chronic Disease.

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