How Bad Can Eating at Your Desk Really Be?

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Not actually lethal. Photo: GemB1 via Flickr

Have you heard? If you eat at your desk, something you might be doing right this very moment, you could be doubling your risk of developing fatal blood clots. So says a new study, maybe, possibly. But we've been hearing for years about how bad eating at your desk is, and yet Americans, including us, continue to do it with alarming frequency, yet here we are. Alive and free of blood clots. So we're calling bullshit.

Researchers with the U.K.'s ComRes recently conducted a study that discovered 73 percent of the 1000 Britons with desk jobs they sampled were simply not moving enough throughout the day, a part of which was in choosing to skip lunch breaks to eat at their desks. The media has seemingly paired these findings with an earlier study by the New Zealand Medical Research Institute's Dr. Richard Beasley to frighten the crap out of everyone by suggesting that eating at your desk directly doubles the risk of life-threatening blood clots.

Beasley is the same doctor who previously may have scared you away from pot smoking. He's the real deal as far as we can tell, publishing comprehensive research on the effects of flying and sitting at work on venous thromboembolism, or as they're known on the street, blood clots. He and his colleagues conducted numerous studies on blood clots, among other subjects, with the conclusion that sitting around for more than 180 minutes at a time can double your risk.

But one thing we've been unable to find is the specific study that says eating at your desk doubles the number of rare blood clots that lead to potentially deadly pulmonary embolisms. For sure, it's scary stuff, with Beasly indicating that for every extra hour one remains seated without moving after 90 minutes, the risk of getting blood clots, most of which are not lethal, goes up 10 percent.

However, none of today's stories screaming out easily digestible headlines like "Eating lunch at your desk may up risk of blood clots by 2-fold" have an actual link or reference to any study that would indicate that it's eating, any more than just sitting, that is responsible for the increased health risk.

Somehow, it appears ComRes's study that finds workers not taking a lunch break has just been glued to the widely known fact that any prolonged sitting increases your risk, leading to a paranoia-spreading hypothesis that snacking at your desk is twice as likely to kill you as starving yourself while sitting.

Lunchtime health risk: How that quick sandwich at your desk can double your risk of DVT [Daily Mail UK]