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News from September 2012

Sitting is BAD for Your Health

September 13, 2012

The evidence is piling up. Sitting can kill you; no matter how young or old, no matter how much you exercise. This research is the driving force behind the sedentary behaviour guidelines for Canadians recently published by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and Health Canada.

The facts are these: Sitting at a desk, in front of a television set, computer screen or anywhere, for extended periods of time is bad for you. Exercise, even vigorous exercise, while always beneficial, does not mitigate the increased mortality risk if we are sedentary the rest of the day.

Research is ongoing, but Canadian and international researchers continue to find that sedentary behaviour has negative health effects and increased risk of all-cause mortality across all age groups and demographics.

A recent twelve-year study of 17,000 Canadian adults found that those who spent most of their time sitting were 50 per cent more likely to die during the follow-up study than those that sat the least. The study, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, May 2009 analyzed sitting activity data for more than 17,000 Canadians ages 18–90, and then compared mortality statistics over 12 years.

A recent Australian study published March 2012 in the Journal of American Medicine Association provides more powerful evidence that prolonged sitting for people over 45 carries serious health risks.

The Australian study examined questionnaire data from over 222 thousand individuals, and found that:

  • sitting for 11 or more hours a day led to an increased risk of death (from all causes) by about 40 per cent over four years, compared to the risk of death in people who sat just four to eight hours a day.
  • People sitting for eight to 11 hours daily had about a 15 per cent increase in risk of death.
  • An increase in mortality rates was present no matter how much exercise was reported by study participants.

The evidence has huge implications for contemporary lifestyles and culture, in particular, homes, schools, and workplaces. What do you think??

SO: if your clients need motivation to get off their rears, or evidence to take to their bosses to help them make a case for a standing desk, here’s some recent articles and research to help them out!

Less sitting and more moving

Sitting takes toll on body

Mark Tremblay, director of CHEO Research Institute interview

Sitting and Screen Time

Alberta Centre for Active Living Healthy Workplace

Alberta Centre for Active Living: Sitting and Sedentary Behaviour