Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Ever since childhood, we've been told to sit down and work.

Or, rather, work while sitting down.

Yes, standing desks have tried to break that idea, but they haven't really caught on and they look faintly silly. (Something nobody wants to be at work.)

Yet we've known for a long time that sitting around at work for long periods is bad for our health.

Just as lounging on a couch at home can turn us into a fried potato.

Now, though, a new piece of research has suggested something quite disturbing.

Performed by a group of U.S. scientists, the research posits that not all sitting is the same.

Might I cut to the chase, so that you don't have to sit here too long reading? 

The researchers' conclusion, you see, is truly startling. It begins: 

Television viewing was associated with greater risk of CVD [Cardiovascular Disease] events and all‐cause mortality, while occupational sitting had no association with these outcomes.

How can this be? 

Sitting for hours on end is bad for you regardless of what you're doing. Isn't it?

Perhaps not. Moreover, this research had a very specific bent.

It looked only at the black population. After all, so much research of this kind has been limited when it comes to potential racial differences.

Yet African-Americans have a significantly higher risk -- 30 percent higher -- of heart disease being the cause of their death.

This study looked at 3,592 black people who volunteered for a health study in Jackson, Mississippi.

The group who watched TV for more than 4 hours a day endured the most cardiovascular events and the most deaths. 

By contrast, those who described their their workplace sitting as often/always showed no significant link to CVD when compared to those who said they never or seldom sit at work. 

Many will naturally ponder whether those who sit at work for long periods don't mention that they get up occasionally to make a coffee, get a snack or gossip with a co-worker for a couple of minutes.

Those who watch TV, on the other hand, might spend longer continuous periods sitting still -- and, perhaps, eating potato chips and popcorn and posting angry things to Twitter.

Indeed, the researchers offered a hopeful aspect for those hooked on TV: 

High levels of leisure‐time moderate‐to‐vigorous physical activity ameliorated the hazardous effects of television viewing in blacks.

Of course, all research offers its own microcosm.

Yet if these results are replicated in future research, perhaps sedentary workers won't feel so guilty.

They may understand that one way to offset the often painful demands of sitting in front of a screen so that a startup founder can make billions is to do more exercise outside of work.

Equally, perhaps wise bosses should encourage their employees to exercise more.

Giving them more time off might be one way to begin the process. 

Most U.S. vacation policies are among the worst in the world.

Published on: Jun 30, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.