Greater sedentary time associated with increased risk of death


A new study shows that sitting for a very long period can lead to death. An average American adult sits for 9 to 10 hours daily, raising concerns to find ways of evaluating its side effects.

To evaluate the health risks of long sedentary time, a team of scientists examined about 8,000 black and whites adults who are 45 years and older. They measured their average and total sedentary time.

According to the lead author, Keith Diaz, the study aimed to ascertain the most dangerous sitting habits, and the number of hours people sit uninterrupted. Diaz is an associate research scientist at Columbia University and disclosed this in an email sent to Courthouse News.

While there have been studies that tried to measure the impact of sedentary time on non-positive health outcomes, many were based on self-reported data. Diaz and his research team made use of a hip-mounted measuring device to determine bouts of sitting.

Research outcome

For those who participated, sedentary time was about 12.3 hours daily over a 16-hour waking day. The average sedentary period was measured to be 11.4 minutes. In the subsequent analysis performed over an average period of four years, the research team observed 340 participants had died already.

It was discovered that longer sedentary time, including average and total sedentary time, are associated with increased death risk, though it’s dependent on dose. The association discovered did not vary with body mass index, race, age, sex and extent of exercise engagement.

According to Diaz, the scientists found that sitting at a position uninterrupted for several hours in a day were associated with higher risks of death, despite the exercise level of such person.

In line with the findings, the team suggests taking a break from sitting every 30 minutes to stop the negative effects of the long sitting time. Diaz added that the key point to focus is to move. It is not convincing to say that standing is a healthier alternative to sitting, but it’s good to take a walk at some time while sitting.