Health and the Programming Lifestyle

Discussion in 'C++' started by Klauer, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. Klauer

    Klauer Guest

    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?
    Klauer, Dec 13, 2006
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  2. And your C++ question is ?
    From a point of view of radiation, LCD's less likely to have harmful
    I know of no studies.
    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.
    Gianni Mariani, Dec 13, 2006
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  3. Klauer

    Jim Langston Guest

    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.
    And how is this different from any office worker?
    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.
    This may be true, but then, our entire society produces toxic chemicals.
    There's really no way around it no matter what your industry.
    I think you're just being paranoid.

    But remember, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean no body is out to
    get you.
    Jim Langston, Dec 14, 2006
  4. Klauer

    Kevin Rouge Guest

    If you are that concerned about it, why not consult your physician or family
    Kevin Rouge, Dec 14, 2006
  5. 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.

    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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
    Ivan Vecerina, Dec 15, 2006
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