People who sat the most were more likely to die from 14 different diseases, the new survey from the American Cancer Society finds.
The survey of more than 125,000 adults found that those who sat six or more hours a day were 19 percent more likely to die over the next 21 years than those who spent less time on the couch or at a desk after the workday is over.
“Risk was significantly higher for 14 of the 22 specific causes of death examined, and importantly, for eight of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S.,” the American Cancer Society’s Alpa Patel and colleagues wrote in their report, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
It’s not the first study to show that sitting too much can be deadly. But it’s a long-term study of many people, and broke down the causes of death in detail.
The 14 causes of death that were more likely the longer people sat: cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, suicide, COPD (such as emphysema), pneumonitis due to inhaling something, liver disease, peptic ulcer and other digestive disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, nervous disorders, and musculoskeletal disorders.
The researchers used data from a larger, ongoing survey of people. They were asked: "During the past year, on an average day (not counting time spent at your job), how many hours per day did you spend sitting (watching television, reading, etc.)?”
Over the next 21 years, more than 48,000 of the people who answered the survey died.
Other studies have shown that Americans spend an average of six to eight hours sitting in their free time. This survey supports that, said Dr. Neha Pagidipati, a cardiologist at Duke University who was not involved in the study.
“It's something that we all do whether we are sitting and watching TV, resting, reading or working at our computer — and it's important to know what health risks could be associated with sitting for that long in the day,” she said.