Limit Sitting To Increase Life Expectancy

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Limit Sitting To Increase Life Expectancy


By now, you’ve probably already heard that sitting all day is bad for you, but exactly how many hours of sitting may be too much? New research says reducing the amount of sitting to less than three hours a day can increase life expectancy by two years.

Photo remixed from an original by S.Pytel (Shutterstock).

Researchers from Louisiana State University and Harvard Medical School analysed data from five studies of nearly 167,000 people over 4-14 years. Participants in the National Health and Nutrition Survey reported their sedentary habits, including how many hours they spend sitting doing things like using the computer and watching TV. The researchers eliminated data for patients with existing diseases (who might be more prone to sitting a lot) and then folded in mortality risk into their meta-analysis.

The results indicate that life expectancy drops by two years when people sit for more than three hours a day, and another 1.4 years for watching TV more than two hours a day. Researchers Peter T Katzmarzyk and I-Min Lee conclude that reducing the amount of time you sit, including TV viewing time, can potentially increase life expectancy.

While that conclusion isn’t really new news (a previous Australian study linked TV watching with reduced life expectancy), spending less than three hours in a chair is a new goal. It’s clear that the fewer hours you spend sitting, the better (even if you do exercise regularly).

So consider this just another friendly reminder to adopt a standing desk either full time or part time, or try other solutions to counteract the damages of sitting too long.

Sedentary behaviour and life expectancy in the USA: a cause-deleted life table analysis [BMJ via BBC News]

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