Sitting Leads to an Early Death
Is your lifestyle too sedentary? Do you sit down for hours at a time, either in front of the TV or reading or working at a visual display unit? Well just how many hours are too many and what is the consequence of it? The latest research is saying that more than three hours every day sitting will double your risk of dying two years sooner than you should. Yes, it seems that people are meant to spend most of their waking hours on their feet doing something rather than sitting so that they extend their life expectancy, or at worst do not shorten it. Basic conclusion is less TV equals a longer life.
The study leader is Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk, associate executive director for population science at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University System in Baton Rouge, and he says, “Sitting is a risk factor, not a disease. It’s comparable to obesity, and it’s almost to the level of smoking. We need to turn that around and engineer sitting out of our lives.”
This new study was a review of five previous pieces of research in this area. So the total population looked at was almost 167,000 people. The scientist then developed an estimated measure of how sitting time would affect all people. It is called the PAF, or ‘population attributable fraction’. The PAFs were used to come up with the mortality rates that derive from sitting down and the bottom line recommendation that staying on your feet for the majority of your day will give you an extra two years of breathing. With regard to TV watching, restricting it to two hours per day can give you over a year and four months longer to live.
A number of studies have been more specific in linking sitting time to particular fatal conditions. One such study announced at a conference of oncologists last year (in November) made the scary correlation between too sedentary a lifestyle and 92,000 diagnoses of cancer every year. The benefits of moving around in contrast to sitting, were made clear in a study published last March. This study looked at 265,000 subjects and found those who sat for at least 11 hours per day were 40% more likely to die early and from any cause, than those who sit for under 4 hours per day.
The study reports that the typical American is sedentary for more than half of their day. Fifty-five percent of their day, in fact. Medics all agree that some straightforward activities built into everyone’s daily routine could make a significant difference to the health of the nation. Employees with a largely desk based job should leave their office and walk, preferably briskly to extend their lives. TV addicts should look for a more active pastime such as jogging or walking. Or they should even put a gym cycle in front of the TV and kill two birds with one stone rather than killing themselves.