Portland's mayor wants city residents to stand up more. Charlie Hales proclaimed July 17 Stand Up for Workplace Wellness Day.
Doctor Claire Wheeler is a professor of community health at Portland State University. At a hearing to declare war on chairs, she said too much sitting increases the risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
For years, she says, people have taken the advice of their doctors and exercised 45 minutes a day. But then they've gone back to lie on a couch, sit at a desk or drive.
"Those people think that they're physically active," she said. "But intact the rates of heart disease and other illnesses are pretty much the same for them as well."
"So we've identified a new risk factor, it seems to be even more significant than smoking. An hour of sitting in a chair, can take more time off your life than smoking a single cigarette."
City commissioner Steve Novick called for his colleagues to set an example by taking some meetings standing up.
This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.