New study highlights health risk posed by long unbroken sedentary periods

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

A new study of the health risks posed by sedentary behaviour has demonstrated that long unbroken periods of sitting can be particularly harmful.

The Columbia University Medical Center research measured inactivity during waking time over a period of seven days in 7,985 adults over the age of 45, finding that sedentary behaviour accounted for 77 percent of their waking hours.

“Spending long periods sitting down can be more harmful to health than the same amount of sedentary time broken into smaller chunks, according to a new study.“

Moreover, it was demonstrated that adults who sit for one to two hours at a time without moving have a higher mortality rate than adults who accrue the same amount of sedentary time in shorter bouts.

Those with the greatest amount of sedentary time - more than 13 hours per day - and who frequently spent at least 60 to 90 consecutive minutes sitting were twice as likely to die early than those with the least total sedentary time and the shortest sedentary bouts.

The study's lead investigator Dr Keith Diaz, associate research scientist at the department of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, said: "If you have a job or lifestyle where you have to sit for prolonged periods of time, we suggest taking a movement break every half hour."

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