Monday, July 19, 2010

We Are all Going to Die of Heart Failure Because we Sit at Desks for Eight Hours a Day!!!! Wait, Whatever Happened to Fact Checking?

A friend of mine shared this link via Google Reader. This is Kottke's reading of the New York Time's complete bungling of a medical report published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. This bungling is so bad that I'm inspired to rant (okay, just about anything inspires me to rant, but this seemed an appropriate forum for this rant).

Kottke read the NYTimes article and didn't actually follow through to read, in any more detail, the actual report.  They're at fault for just blindly reading something from NYTimes without checking it out.  They're at fault for then publishing what they read as fact, and for quoting an "authority" without making sure what they read was from the original source.

NYTimes is just plain wrong.  They apparently couldn't read to the end of the abstract before running off to be the ones with the scoop.  From their article, one would have to assume that those of us with desk jobs are doomed to die from Cardiovascular disease (CVD), no matter how much we exercise at other times.

I don't have access to the full article, unless I want to pay some ridiculous fee.  However, the abstract is freely available here.  The results and conclusions sections of the abstract are reproduced below, with my emphasis added.  Since I don't actually do any physical activities other than type, I'm pretty much doomed, but those of you who exercise for health reasons, don't stop just because some dumb reporter can't read to the end of a page.

Results: Three hundred and seventy-seven CVD deaths occurred during 21 yr of follow-up. After age adjustment, time riding in a car and combined time spent in these two sedentary behaviors were positively (Ptrend < 0.001) associated with CVD death. Men who reported >10 h·wk−1 riding in a car or >23 h·wk−1 of combined sedentary behavior had 82% and 64% greater risk of dying from CVD than those who reported >4 or >11 h·wk−1, respectively. The pattern of the association did not materially change after multivariate adjustment. Regardless of the amount of sedentary activity reported by these men, being older, having normal weight, being normotensive, and being physically active were associated with a reduced risk of CVD death.

Conclusion: In men, riding in a car and combined time spent in these two sedentary behaviors were significant CVD mortality predictors. In addition, high levels of physical activity were related to notably lower rates of CVD death even in the presence of high levels of sedentary behavior. Health promotion efforts targeting physically inactive men should emphasize both reducing sedentary activity and increasing regular physical activity for optimal cardiovascular health.