Combating the Health Risks of Sedentary Behavior in the Contemporary Radiology Reading Room

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2016 Jun;206(6):1135-40. doi: 10.2214/AJR.15.15496. Epub 2016 Apr 8.


Objective: We detail the association of sedentary behavior with a variety of health problems and provide the radiologist with a number of simple activities and techniques that can improve overall health while still meeting the productivity demands of a high-volume practice. Although these techniques are well known and recognized in the fitness and nutrition literature, they are not widely used in the radiology reading room. The computer- and workstation-based work routinely performed by diagnostic radiologists typically occurs in the seated position, leading to more than 8 hours per day of sitting. Studies have found that even for those who exercise regularly, spending increased time sitting can negate the healthful effects of exercise. Time spent in a seated or sedentary position leads to slowing of one's metabolism, with negative resultant effects.

Conclusion: The concept of nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) will be described, with examples given of how to burn more calories while at work and, therefore, improve the health of the diagnostic radiologist. NEAT refers to the energy expended during activities of daily living, excluding sportlike or intentional exercise. The concept of NEAT must be understood by radiologists, because it allows the development of multiple strategies to combat the ill effects of sitting while working. Adding intermittent movement and stretching exercises throughout the day can stimulate metabolism. An understanding of the association of sedentary work behavior with a number of health risks is crucial for radiologists so that they can implement basic changes into their work routine, allowing them to increase activity to address and avoid these potential health hazards.

Keywords: health risks; nonexercise activity thermogenesis; sedentary behavior.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Health*
  • Radiology*
  • Sedentary Behavior*