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Health and the Programming Lifestyle

Hello All!

I have been thinking about this quite a bit recently, and was wondering
if my stereotypes are founded on truth or just stereotypical
assumptions about programmers and health.

It's not uncommon to hear about a programmer spending a 18 - 24 hour
stint sitting in front of a computer coding away. I remember hearing
about how harmful CRT monitors are with extended exposure, and was
wondering if LCD monitors pose that same threat?

Additionally, it seems that many of my fellow programmers on the job
have somewhat unhealthy lifestyles. Little to no exercise, terrible
diets(extreme amounts of caffeine), lack of sleep, and the normal
problems with working at a computer too long (repetitive stress
injuries, obesity, eye fatigue, etc.)

I was wondering if anybody knew of any actual evidence--be it studies,
statistics, or other--that corroborate my stereotypes or completely
blow them away with evidence that we lead much healthier lives than we
are often stereotyped to have?

I also heard that computer desktops emit dangerous materials in the air
just by running. It makes sense, since computers get hot, there's a
chance that silicon, metals, plastics, etc., get released into the air
making it somewhat less healthy.

Do we have an unhealthy occupation? Or am I being a bit too paranoid
and cynical?

Dec 14 '06 #1
4 2140

And your C++ question is ?

Klauer wrote:
Hello All!

I have been thinking about this quite a bit recently, and was wondering
if my stereotypes are founded on truth or just stereotypical
assumptions about programmers and health.

It's not uncommon to hear about a programmer spending a 18 - 24 hour
stint sitting in front of a computer coding away. I remember hearing
about how harmful CRT monitors are with extended exposure, and was
wondering if LCD monitors pose that same threat?
From a point of view of radiation, LCD's less likely to have harmful
radiation.
>
Additionally, it seems that many of my fellow programmers on the job
have somewhat unhealthy lifestyles. Little to no exercise, terrible
diets(extreme amounts of caffeine), lack of sleep, and the normal
problems with working at a computer too long (repetitive stress
injuries, obesity, eye fatigue, etc.)

I was wondering if anybody knew of any actual evidence--be it studies,
statistics, or other--that corroborate my stereotypes or completely
blow them away with evidence that we lead much healthier lives than we
are often stereotyped to have?
I know of no studies.
>
I also heard that computer desktops emit dangerous materials in the air
just by running. It makes sense, since computers get hot, there's a
chance that silicon, metals, plastics, etc., get released into the air
making it somewhat less healthy.

Do we have an unhealthy occupation? Or am I being a bit too paranoid
and cynical?
I know some programmers that are very active - they bike to/from work
take 1 hour bike rides for lunch and are very healthy.

I wish I was so disciplined.

There are other occupations that provide more physical exercise but more
than likely mush less mental exercise.
Dec 14 '06 #2

"Klauer" <Kl****@gmail.comwrote in message
news:11**********************@l12g2000cwl.googlegr oups.com...
Hello All!

I have been thinking about this quite a bit recently, and was wondering
if my stereotypes are founded on truth or just stereotypical
assumptions about programmers and health.

It's not uncommon to hear about a programmer spending a 18 - 24 hour
stint sitting in front of a computer coding away. I remember hearing
about how harmful CRT monitors are with extended exposure, and was
wondering if LCD monitors pose that same threat?
And where did you hear this from? A monitor is simply a CRT (Cathro Ray
Tube) the same that's in a TV for the most part.

If you're worried about the EMF, florescent lights produce more EMF than
CRTs do.
Additionally, it seems that many of my fellow programmers on the job
have somewhat unhealthy lifestyles. Little to no exercise, terrible
diets(extreme amounts of caffeine), lack of sleep, and the normal
problems with working at a computer too long (repetitive stress
injuries, obesity, eye fatigue, etc.)
And how is this different from any office worker?
I was wondering if anybody knew of any actual evidence--be it studies,
statistics, or other--that corroborate my stereotypes or completely
blow them away with evidence that we lead much healthier lives than we
are often stereotyped to have?
Anyone can get CTS, but I've been working on computers since I was 10 years
old (I'm 42 now) and never had problems. And I type a lot.
I also heard that computer desktops emit dangerous materials in the air
just by running. It makes sense, since computers get hot, there's a
chance that silicon, metals, plastics, etc., get released into the air
making it somewhat less healthy.
This may be true, but then, our entire society produces toxic chemicals.
There's really no way around it no matter what your industry.
Do we have an unhealthy occupation? Or am I being a bit too paranoid
and cynical?
I think you're just being paranoid.

But remember, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean no body is out to
get you.
Dec 14 '06 #3
Klauer wrote:
Hello All!

I have been thinking about this quite a bit recently, and was wondering
if my stereotypes are founded on truth or just stereotypical
assumptions about programmers and health.

It's not uncommon to hear about a programmer spending a 18 - 24 hour
stint sitting in front of a computer coding away. I remember hearing
about how harmful CRT monitors are with extended exposure, and was
wondering if LCD monitors pose that same threat?

Additionally, it seems that many of my fellow programmers on the job
have somewhat unhealthy lifestyles. Little to no exercise, terrible
diets(extreme amounts of caffeine), lack of sleep, and the normal
problems with working at a computer too long (repetitive stress
injuries, obesity, eye fatigue, etc.)

I was wondering if anybody knew of any actual evidence--be it studies,
statistics, or other--that corroborate my stereotypes or completely
blow them away with evidence that we lead much healthier lives than we
are often stereotyped to have?

I also heard that computer desktops emit dangerous materials in the air
just by running. It makes sense, since computers get hot, there's a
chance that silicon, metals, plastics, etc., get released into the air
making it somewhat less healthy.

Do we have an unhealthy occupation? Or am I being a bit too paranoid
and cynical?
If you are that concerned about it, why not consult your physician or family
doctor.

Dec 14 '06 #4
Klauer wrote:
I have been thinking about this quite a bit recently, and was
wondering
if my stereotypes are founded on truth or just stereotypical
assumptions about programmers and health.

It's not uncommon to hear about a programmer spending a 18 - 24 hour
stint sitting in front of a computer coding away. I remember hearing
about how harmful CRT monitors are with extended exposure, and was
wondering if LCD monitors pose that same threat?
CRT do emit possibly harmful Gamma rays, although at levels that are
way below established thresholds of potential harm. Yet personally
I would always tell my kids not to sit too close to the TV's tube.
See http://www.hps.org/publicinformation/ate/q3750.html

I think that LCD are an improvement in this respect. Although, yes,
they are still emitting some electromagnetic "radiations", like all
electronic devices.
But I'd be more concerned by Wifi and cell phones now than by the
LCD screens themselves.
Additionally, it seems that many of my fellow programmers on the job
have somewhat unhealthy lifestyles. Little to no exercise, terrible
diets(extreme amounts of caffeine), lack of sleep, and the normal
problems with working at a computer too long (repetitive stress
injuries, obesity, eye fatigue, etc.)
Same kind of "unhealthy" lifestyles as most office workers. Yet all
statistics will show that we are much better of than say construction
workers. Yes, you should take care of keeping a healthy level of
physical activity if your job does not provide it. But you can't
say that being a programmer is health hazard in itself.
I was wondering if anybody knew of any actual evidence--be it studies,
statistics, or other--that corroborate my stereotypes or completely
blow them away with evidence that we lead much healthier lives than we
are often stereotyped to have?
Many professional activities are considered to be "at risk".
Random examples:
- train drivers get more leukemia from electromagnetic exposure
- airline pilots & stewardesses get increased rates of colon
and breast cancers, respectively. (yet overall pilots were
shown to be healthier than average population, because of
otherwise healthier lifestyles most likely).
- industry/construction workers are much less likely to reach
retirement age (in good health) than you are.
I am not a health statistician, but I am sure that the IT workforce
is part of a lower-risk group. Our only real risk factor, really,
is the sedentary lifestyle associated with being an office worker.
I also heard that computer desktops emit dangerous materials in the
air
just by running. It makes sense, since computers get hot, there's a
chance that silicon, metals, plastics, etc., get released into the air
making it somewhat less healthy.
Possible. Yet not in a measurable way.
I'm pretty sure that ambient urban and environmental pollution is more
of a health hazard than these emissions.
Do we have an unhealthy occupation?
Or am I being a bit too paranoid and cynical?
I just think that your priorities/focus is misplaced.

I am sure that your occupation is among the healthier ones,
with the main caveat being associated with sedentary lifestyle.
But this is in no way specific, and switching jobs is unlikely
to be the right way to fix this !

I am also certain that many things in your lifestyle and environment
are much more detrimental to your health than working at a computer.

Finally, there is more to the quality of your life than the health
risks associated with your job. Think of it seriously.
Bob once told his physician:
"I do not want to die. Tell me what I need to do to live a long life!"
The doctor gave him a long list of things that he has to avoid
(no unhealthy food, no unhealthy sex, no unhealthy activities...).
Bob: "And if I follow all of this advice, will I live longer ?"
Doc: "Well, you can't be sure, there is no guarantee.
But what I can say for sure is that life will seem very long!"
Ivan - an MD who has picked the lifestyle of an engineer
--
http://ivan.vecerina.com/contact/?subject=NG_POST <- email contact form

Dec 15 '06 #5

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