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Extended Periods of Sitting May Not Increase Risk Of Death

Sitting for long periods of time has been linked to an increased risk of all cause mortality in a number of previous studies. Now however, a recent — and long running — study has found that sitting for long periods may not increase the likelihood of death.

Participants in the study included 3,720 men and 1,412 women who took part in the 16-year study. The participants provided information on total sitting time as well as four other specific types of sitting behavior: sitting at work, sitting during leisure time, sitting while watching TV, and sitting during leisure time excluding TV. They also provided information on how much they walked daily and how much time they spent in moderate to vigorous physical exercise.

After controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, general health, smoking, alcohol intake, and diet, the researchers found that none of the five sitting behaviors measured had an effect on mortality risk.

Researchers from the University of Exeter and University College London conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on October 9, 2015, in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

While this study found that sitting behaviors were not associated with an increased risk of death, the researchers were careful to recommend that health professionals encourage people to exercise regularly. Even small amounts of exercise throughout the day can help you stay healthy. Making little changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, taking five minute breaks from your desk to take a walk, and walking instead of driving when doing errands can all make a difference.

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