By Kate Lunau - Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 0 Comments
It’s tied to obesity, diabetes and cancer–and exercise won’t make up for it
On Sept. 24, 2007, a Monday evening, Cathleen Renner sat down in her home office to tackle a project. Renner, 47, was a manager at AT&T, where she’d been for 25 years. It isn’t clear how many hours she spent at the computer that night, making a plan for a possible employee strike, but she did send an email to a colleague at 12:26 a.m. When her son got up at 7 a.m., she was at her desk. Renner took him to the bus a little later, and as she walked out the door, she clutched her leg and let out a cry of pain. Still, she returned to work. At 11:34, she called an ambulance. Renner was dead by the time she reached the hospital.
Like most of us, Renner spent long hours on the job seated at her computer; in a workers’ compensation claim filed after her death, her husband argued that sitting was what killed her. (Renner died of a pulmonary embolism after a blood clot formed in her leg.) The case was not exactly straightforward; AT&T called an expert who pointed out Renner was morbidly obese, weighing 304 lb., and had recently started taking new medication, birth control pills. But in 2011 a New Jersey judge ruled in James Renner’s favour, noting his wife’s job required her to “spend unusually long hours at her computer” and awarding him workers’ compensation benefits as a result. The decision was extremely unusual, the first of its kind legal observers could recall. But if a growing number of health experts are right about the dangers of sitting, it could be a harbinger of things to come. Continue…