Our sedentary culture is -- quite literally -- killing us

Immediately after blogging about the health consequences of sitting down all day, I stumbled across two articles illustrating my point.

First, “Texas hold ‘em stud dies on flight to World Series of Poker”:

A morbidly obese Long Island man flying to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas died on board the flight of an apparent heart attack, The Post has learned.

Paul “Smalls” Kitsos, 55 — who owned a successful women’s apparel company — was aboard United Airlines flight 863 that left JFK Airport at 5:25 p.m. Monday, bound for San Francisco, where Kitsos was planning to catch a connecting flight to Las Vegas.

About 20 minutes after takeoff, the 5-foot-11, 350-pound Kitsos, of Manhasset, pressed the overhead “help,” button and complained about being ill, according to a Port Authority source.

When flight attendant Ken Pace approached him, Kitsos was “sweating profusely and breathing heavily,” and Pace soon afterwards was unable to detect a pulse, the source said….

Kitsos was carrying more than $11,000 in cash, as well as prescription heart and ulcer medications, the sources said. Kitsos had earned $387,764 on the World Poker Tour since he began playing professionally five years ago and had cashed in 18 different events.

And, second, “Computer gamers ‘have reactions of pilots but bodies of chain smokers’”:

Dr Dominic Micklewright, from the University of Essex, put several ‘'elite cyber-sportsmen’‘ through their paces to see how they compared to professional athletes.

The head of Sport, Performance, and Fatigue Research Unit also wanted to determine whether video gaming should be classed as a sport.

The cyber-sportsmen had mental sharpness and psychological traits comparable to ‘real’ athletes, and reacted to visual stimuli almost as fast as fighter jet pilots.

But their fitness levels were shockingly low and comparable to people either much younger or much older than their actual age.

One leading gamer in his twenties appeared to be slim and healthy with a physique similar to an endurance athlete.

But tests revealed he in fact had the lung function and aerobic fitness of a heavy smoker in his sixties.

Dr Micklewright blamed the gaming lifestyle of spending 10 hours a day in front a computer screen and warned youngsters against such a sedentary lifestyle.

Posted by James on Wednesday, June 09, 2010