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Eat on your feet to lose weight, says health ministry

Finland's Health Ministry is encouraging its inhabitants to eat their meals standing up to help combat health problems. Officials are becoming increasingly concerned with problems linked to sedentary lifestyles.

People should occasionally eat on their feet instead of sitting down, according to public health officials in Finland.

"Many things can be done in a standing position or walking around instead of sitting down. Standing up also works for reading a newspaper, eating, taking a coffee break and watching television," the Finnish Health Ministry recommended on Wednesday in a publication entitled "Sit Less, Feel Better."

Finns are leading

increasingly sedentary lifestyles

, with studies cited in the publication showing that adults sit, lie down or stand still for more than three-quarters of their time awake.

Excessive sitting is linked to musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease and

obesity

.

"Among those who sit more than seven hours a day, every additional hour spent sitting down increases the risk of death by 5 percent," the ministry warned.

Get on your feet

The ministry said that while Finns generally exercise regularly, this on its own cannot stop the adverse effects of sitting down for hours on end.

"People of all ages should avoid excessive sitting," the publication recommended. "They should walk or cycle short distances or stand in public transport, and try to maintain physically active ways of working."

It noted that getting off public transport a stop early and walking an extra 300 meters (328 yards) twice a day would amount to around 150 kilometers (93 miles) in a year.

The ministry also raised concerns over the growing amount of time Finnish children are spending nowadays browsing smartphones and playing video games.

Children should not sit continuously for more than an hour, a practice in line with the 45-minute-long lessons in Finnish schools, the ministry said.

mh/sms (AFP)

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