Sitting too long can lead to early death

Sitting too long can lead to early death

Sitting too long can lead to early death

Further analysis looking at how participants split up their stints of inactivity found that those who kept most of their bouts to under 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of death while the team also discovered that the longer, more frequent and more intense the breaks from inactivity the better.

"We think that if you take a movement break every 30 minutes that this could decrease your risk of death", Dr. Diaz says. He is an associate research scientist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. "The longer the better, the more intense the better", said Diaz. Now a new study has even more evidence that we all need to get up and move more.

Many people sit for up to 10 hours a day, he noted. The researchers compared quartiles 2 through 4 to quartile 1 for total sedentary time (quartile cut points, 689.7, 746.5 and 799.4 minutes/day) and sedentary bout duration (quartile cut points, 7.7, 9.6 and 12.4 minutes/bout) to calculate HRs.

The results of this study suggest that policy makers should be cautious about recommending sitting reductions without also recommending increases in physical activity.

Exactly how prolonged sitting might be related to an increased risk of early death isn't known, he added. "Whether we can say with great confidence that it will reduce risk of death is not clear but we can say that reducing sedentary lifestyles is an important part of a pattern to promote health".

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The report was published online September 11 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. He said, "We don't yet know what the ideal solutions are to remedy the risks associated with sedentary behavior".

"The lack of activity in our muscles affects our ability to metabolise our sugars efficiently", Alter, author of an accompanying editorial, said by email.

"We were trying to understand what is the worst feature of a person's sitting habits - is it how many hours a day you sit, or is it sitting in these long bouts", said Diaz.

Diaz and colleagues noted several study limitations, such as that the accelerometer did not distinguish between postures so they were forced to use an intensity-only definition of sedentary behavior and that only 7 days of accelerometer data were collected.

What's more, factors such as smoking status and blood pressure were only captured once, and the activity trackers were only worn over one week, meaning that changes in the health or behaviour of participants over time was not taken into account.

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The researchers found that the test subjects sit down for a shockingly large percentage of each day - 12.3 hours over a 16-hour waking day, around 77%. The average was 11 minutes at a stretch.

Over a median follow-up period of four years, 340 of the participants died. No matter how much you exercise, sitting for excessively long periods of time is a risk factor for early death, a new study published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine found.

Those who were inactive for 13.2 hours a day had a risk of death 2.6 times that of those spending less than 11.5 hours a day inactive, while those whose bouts of inactivity lasted on average 12.4 minutes or more had a risk of death nearly twice that of those who were inactive for an average of less than 7.7 minutes at a time.

The findings showed that people with the greatest amount of sedentary time - more than 13 hours per day - and who frequently had sedentary bouts of at least 60 to 90 consecutive minutes had a almost two-fold increase in death risk compared with those who had the least total sedentary time and the shortest sedentary bouts.

"That risk is reduced if we exercise at least 150 minutes per week, but not entirely eliminated", he concluded.

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