To Live Longer, Sit Less

An Australian study to determine the independent relationship of sitting time with all-cause mortality tells us a lot.

"Sitting Time and All-Cause Mortality Risk in 222,497 Australian Adults" is the title of a study published March 26 in Archives of Internal Medicine (Vol. 172, No. 6).

The authors -- Hidde P. van der Ploeg, Ph.D.; Tien Chey, MAppStats; Rosemary J. Korda, Ph.D.; Emily Banks, MBBS, Ph.D.; and Adrian Bauman, MBBS, Ph.D. -– sought and found the independent relationship of sitting time with all-cause mortality by adjusting for potential confounders including sex, age, education, urban/rural residence, physical activity, body mass index, smoking status, self-rated health, and disability.

Surveying 621,695 person-years of follow-up, they concluded the association between sitting and all-cause mortality "appeared consistent across the sexes, age groups, body mass index categories, and physical activity levels and across healthy participants compared with participants with preexisting cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus."

Prolonged sitting is a risk factor for all-cause mortality independent of physical activity, according to the authors, who work at the Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney (Dr. van der Ploeg, Professor Bauman, and Chey); The Sax Institute (Dr. Banks) in Sydney, Australia; and the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Acton, Australia (Dr. Korda and Banks).

They recommend that public health programs should focus on reducing sitting time in addition to increasing physical activity levels.

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