Sitting Study: Being Seated More Than Three Hours A Day Cuts Life Expectancy

Are you sitting down for this? Good, get up.

A new study published in online journal BMJ Open shows that sitting three hours a day see their life expectancy sliced by two years, even if the person is physically active and avoids risky activities like smoking. Watching TV makes the problem worse, the Wall Street Journal reported, decreasing life expectancy by another 1.4 years.

The sitting study looked at five previous studies of nearly 167,000 people, following them between four and 14 years. The finding add to a study conducted two years ago by Australian researchers that found people who watched TV for four hours a day were 80 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease.

The sitting study is leading researchers to realize the dangers of inactivity.

“Sedentary behavior is something we need to take note of beyond telling people to get 30 minutes of activity a day,” Peter T. Katzmarzyk, one of the lead researchers for the study and a professor of population science at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., told the Wall Street Journal.

Katzmarzyk did acknowledge that for people with desk jobs there is little they can do to avoid sitting.

“Try to stand as much as you can,” he said. “Typically when you’re on the telephone you can stand with speaker phone. Instead of emailing someone in the office, just get up and go talk to them.”

The news might not be all bad, the BBC reported. Researchers involved in the sitting study acknowledged that there are flaws in the study that could make it less reliable and the correlation does not necessarily mean that sitting leads to an earlier death. The study also did not specify whether people had underlying medical conditions that may have led them to sit for longer periods.