You probably missed this story a few days ago (it was, after all, published in The Independent). On the front page it was flagged up as 'Is sitting the new smoking?' Inside it had the slightly less sensational headline 'How sitting can make you ill', and it's a classic of the genre.
You'd have to have been living under a stone for the last decade or so to have missed public health messages on smoking, drinking, healthy eating and exercise. Whether we act on them or not, many of us can reel off figures on weekly exercise and alcohol limits – as well as the exact contribution to our five-a-day half a kumquat provides – like well-loved stanzas of poetry.
And if a growing band of doctors and medical researchers have their way...
(Which they usually do.)
...government health advice will include another bullet point. Experts in cancer, heart disease and obesity are all calling for advice on "sensible sitting" to become, in future, part and parcel of public health drives.
...Dr Alpa Patel, of the American Cancer Society, thinks it is only a matter of time. "I think the research community is building a strong evidence base [on the dangers of sitting] that will likely influence public-health guidelines in the future," she says.
The 'strong evidence base' is, needless to say, one of stupefying banality.
If we sit down for eight hours a day, we are not spending any of that time walking, running or swimming.
I'll be damned.
Sitting implies an absence of exercise.
In fact, as Dr Patel says, "sitting is one of the most passive things you can do."
You don't say.
Pretty much anything burns more calories than just sitting down.
There's plenty of more of this in the article, although I should warn those of you who don't have a scientific background that complex ideas of this kind appear throughout.