Sitting Disease by the Numbers [Infographic]

Sitting Disease by the Numbers - Study Finds How Sitting Too
Much Can Kill You
Infographic from Zero Gravity Tables
Sitting Can Kill You

Several studies on the effects of prolonged sitting and inactivity support a link between time spent sitting and a higher risk for several chronic diseases and medical conditions - including obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, degenerative disc disease, neck, back and hip pain and some cancers.

Women at Higher Risk

Studies reveal that women seem to be significantly more negatively affected by sitting and being sedentary than men.

Not only are sedentary women at a higher risk for chronic disease and illness - shockingly, they are also at a higher mortality risk.  That is, sedentary women are more likely to die than sedentary men.

Large Scale Study by The American Cancer Society

The 2010 American Cancer Society Study (published in the American Journal of Epidemiology) followed a total of 123,216 individuals - 69,776 women and 53,440 men - over a period of 14 years, from 1993 to 2006.  According to the Study, at the end of the 14 year time period, and adjustments for smoking, body mass index and other factors:

Relative risk for sitting (6 or more hours/day vs. 3 or less hours/day) was:

1.34 for women
1.17 for men

Relative risk for sitting (6 or more hours/day) and physical activity (24.5 metabolic equivalent (MET) hours/week) combined (compared with individuals with least sitting time and most activity) were:

1.94 for women
1.48 for men

Exercise to Reduce Effects of Sitting

If you sit for several hours at a stretch, can exercise compensate for and negate the adverse effects of sitting?

The findings of several studies indicate that the negative effects of sitting are independent of physical activity levels.  In other words, exercise does not reduce the adverse effects of sitting.  In fact, according to the #1 New York Times bestselling book,  The End of Illness, authored by David B. Agus, MD, researchers at the International Diabetes Institute* in Melbourne 
" ... concluded that even two hours of exercise a day would not compensate for 'spending 22 hours sitting on your rear end'."
*Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute


The effects of prolonged sitting on the effects of health continue to be studied.  However, researchers and healthcare professionals recommend that people simply start sitting less and moving more, and pay particular close attention to how long they sit at a time.  It is suggested that standing up at least every half hour and walking/moving around for a few minutes can have benefits.  For some ideas on how to sit less and move more:  16 Ways to Avoid Sitting So Much During the Day (MindBodyGreen)

Infographic Source

Zero Gravity Tables

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