If you sit for more than 6 hours a day, you are taking a lot of chances with your life. The American Cancer Society has just published a new study conducted for 15 years showing that men and women who sit for more than six hours a day are up to 40 percent more likely to die earlier than people who sit less than 3 hours a day.

Here is the article published by the Athens Banner-Herald, OnlineAthens, on May 31, 2011

The Study

A new American Cancer Society study shows that men and women who sit for more than six hours a day are more susceptible to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. The 15-year study suggests that chronic sitters are up to 40 percent more likely to die earlier than people who sit less than three hours per day.

The study, which was headed by Dr. Alpa Patel, surveyed and monitored more than 100,000 men and women. As it turned out, mortality rates increased for men and women who sat more than six hours a day. The rates nearly doubled for those who sat that long and didn’t exercise.

The problem with sitting, even at a 90-degree angle, is that it shuts down leg muscles, slows calorie burning to a trickle and doesn’t do much to break down fat, as a companion study by the Medical Billing and Coding Organization explained.

Many Athens doctors concur.

“Sitting – especially sitting with no support – is not good for the spine,” said Nancy Turpin, a physical therapist for Athens Regional Health Center. “It’s important to get up and change positions. Get up once an hour.”

Laying down puts the least amount of pressure on the spine, Turpin said, followed by standing and then sitting.

“The posture also puts a lot of muscles in a short position where they exert an abnormal pull on the spine,” she added. “Sitting without back support is the worst because many people end up slumping over.”

But many Americans work behind a desk all day. Sitting is their only option, though they still can take steps to minimize its detrimental effects.

To lower the risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes, people need to exercise at some level for at least 30 minutes every day, said Dr. Jonathan Murrow of Athens Cardiology. But that exercise doesn’t need to necessarily be running on a treadmill or lifting weights.

“It could be as simple as walking,” Murrow said. “Studies show that just that degree of activity has benefits as far as lowering the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

“The problem is a lot of people want to take medicine instead of making lifestyle changes, so we’ve been known to write prescriptions for exercise.”

Busy workers with no time for exercise still can squeeze enough activity in. Murrow recommends that they wear pedometers, which measures how many steps they take, and shoot for 10,000 steps a day.

“That sounds like a lot, but it amounts to about 30 minutes of activity,” he said.

Shoppers can get those steps in around large superstores and malls. Employees can park farther away from the office, use the stairs instead of the elevator and use their breaks to take a stroll or two.

Or just stand up more.

Final word

I know I have talked a lot about physical activity in my articles but this is no joke, guys. There is also a study conducted by the Cambridge University in England, in which 20,000 volunteers between the ages of 45 and 79 participated for 11 years. The study showed that by following the health practices shown below, you can live 14 years longer than those who don’t follow them:

If you don’t smoke
If you drink a moderate amount of alcohol
If you include in your diet fruits and vegetables
If you are physically active


I am Andy Carpenter and I would start by saying that I have a Bachelor Degree in Nutrition Science conferred by California State University, Los Angeles and that I am certified as a Registered Dietitian.

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