Are you a sitting duck?

By Julie La Barba, MD, FAAP
Medical Director, Culinary Health Education for Families
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

It should not sit well that most of our nation’s time is spent in chairs. Dr. James Levine, a Mayo Clinic researcher, calls ours a “chair-based lifestyle.” Sound extreme? Then just think about how often our work, leisure time, transportation, entertainment and meal times revolve around a sedentary posture. High tech conveniences DO save us work, but sitting and pushing buttons also means we move our bodies considerably less often and with less force. 

Everyone knows exercising can be good for us – but is the opposite true too? Can sitting actually be bad for us? Although just being sedentary doesn’t make us overweight, it does contribute to an overall energy imbalance. If we spend hours each day in passive activities, there’s simply not enough time in the day to offset our food intake and lack of physical activity. Family homes and workplaces are critical environments for fostering physical activity – or for fostering a sedentary lifestyle.

The solution? Sit less and move more every day! If we can build movement and activity into our “day jobs,” whether that means at work or school, or when maintaining a household, then we won’t bear the burden of scheduling extra physical activity on top of an already demanding day.

To read Dr. La Barba’s entire blog, visit the USAF Fit Family website at


Author: Julie La Barba, MD

Dr. La Barba earned her medical degree at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) in 2002 and completed her pediatric residency in 2006 at University Hospital and The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio (formerly CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital). Dr. Julie La Barba is passionate about children and nutrition. Having grown up in an Italian produce family, Dr. La Barba learned to appreciate real food at an early age. This fostered her professional commitment to children’s nutrition and resulted in her extensive professional training and targeted advocacy for public health education and research. Now the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Medical Director of CHEF (Culinary Health Education for Families) and mother of four, her special interests include breastfeeding promotion, pediatric obesity prevention, culinary medicine, urban farming and nutrition education for the underserved. Earning national certification from the American Board of Pediatrics in 2011, she is an active Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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