Excessive Sitting Can Increase Risk of Early Death by as Much as 50%

Research has added more credibility to the debate that lengthy periods of sitting can be hazardous to health. An international study that surveyed over 100,000 people from 21 countries discovered that individuals who sat for 6 to 8 hours every day had a 12 to 13% elevated risk for heart disease and early death, while individuals who sat for over 8 hours every day increased that risk to 20%.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1001/jamacardio.2022.1581

The researchers tracked the participants over 11 years on average and established that high amounts of sitting time were linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and early death. Although sitting was found to be a problem in all countries, it was particularly so in low-income countries as well as lower-middle-income countries.

The takeaway health message here is to reduce the amount of time sitting. If sitting is necessary, exercising more throughout other times of the day will help counteract the risks.

Individuals sitting the most with the least activity had the highest risk of as much as 50%, while individuals sitting the most but with the most activity had a significantly reduced risk of approximately 17%.

For individuals sitting over 4 hours each day, substituting 30 minutes of sitting with 30 minutes of exercise lowered the risk by 2%. This is an opportunity here for increasing activity to help reduce the risk of early death and heart disease.

The researchers discovered an unusual connection in lower-income countries, which led them to theorize that it could be due to the fact that sitting in higher-income countries is usually linked to better-paying jobs and higher socio-economic status.

Physicians ought to focus on getting patients to sit less and get more active as it’s a low-cost intervention that can have enormous benefits.

But while physicians should inform patients about countering the harmful effects of sitting with more activity, people should assess their lifestyles better. The study revealed that sitting combined with inactivity accounted for 8.8% of all deaths, which is comparable to that of smoking. It’s a worldwide problem that has an extremely easy fix. Scheduling time to escape that chair is an excellent start.

Sitting Disease Infographic

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About the author

Adrian has been writing on health and fitness for 18 years. He is the founder of several health related websites and the current owner of AHealthBlog, which regularly publishes evidence based health and fitness news and information. When he isn’t writing, you can find him mountain biking or surfing.



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