As a society we have become a population of professional sitters who spend long periods of time at a desk, in a car, on the phone or looking at a screen device.
Research studies performed in the United States and Australia have produced some thought-provoking results. Too much sitting has been associated with an increased risk of death cardiovascular disease and cancer.
One study analyzed adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of a screen – of any type – and compared them to those who engaged in more than four hours a day. Here are the results:
There was nearly a 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause. An approximate 125% increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease.
Activities associated with extending sitting such as driving your car or sitting at your desk are also harmful. Additional studies indicate that a FEW weekly hours spent at the gym or engaged in vigorous activity does not show significant offset of the risk.
There is hope however. The American College of Sports Medicine has prepared a handout with tips to help alleviate the effects of long-term sitting. Please see the link below.
Matthews CE, et al. Amount of time spend in sedentary behaviors and cause-specific mortality in US adults. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2012:95:437.
Stamatakis E, et al. Screen-based entertainment time, all-cause mortality, and cardiovascular events: Population- based study with ongoing mortiality and hospital events follow-up. Journal of the Ameircan College of Cardiology. 2011:57:292.
Levine, James A. What are the risks of sitting too much? Mayo Clinic.org/healthy-living;adult-health. June 2012.