Skip to main content

Are Hours of Sitting Correlated with Chronic Disease & Early Death?

A ground-breaking study published in The Lancet medical jpurnal in 1953 found that London bus drivers experienced an increased risk of heart disease compared with conductors. Since then, study after study have confirmed that hours of sitting are correlated with chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many cancers, and early death. This statistic is frightening as it means that we desk jockies are doomed.

Today, being sedentary is the norm. Data from high-income countries suggest that the majority of our time being awake is spent being sedentary. That said, high amounts of sedentary behavior has been associated with increased risk for several chronic diseases and early death. This begs the question: if you're active enough, can these negative health outcomes be reversed?

A new review of 16 studies and one million people published in The Lancet looked at hours of sitting and hours of excerise. While this review confirmed the association between sitting and increased death, there was one exception. People in the highest exercise group, who exercised 60 to 75 minutes per day, did not experience adverse effects of sitting, even if they sat 8 hours per day - that is, unless the sitting involved 5 hours ofTV viewing or more per day.