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Why sitting for more than 6 hours a day could be dangerous

Sitting and inactivity account for 8.8 percent of global deaths- nearly as much as smoking which accounts for 10.6 percent.

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By Gwyn Wright via SWNS

Sitting at your desk or lounging around on the sofa for more than six hours a day could be killing you, according to a new study.

Young Couple with Mugs of Coffee or Tea Sitting on Sofa Together and Watching Television with Blank Expressions
(Maples Images/Shutterstock)

Scientists found that global deaths from sitting and inactivity were nearly as high as those from smoking.

People who sat down the longest and didn’t get much exercise at all were 50 percent more likely to die, while people who say sat for a very long time but also got out and about a lot were at a 17 percent higher risk.

Sitting between six and eight hours a day gives you a 12 to 13 percent higher risk of heart disease or early death.

And those who sat for more than eight hours a day are 20 percent more likely to die early.

But if you sit for more than four hours a day, replacing half an hour of sitting with exercise cuts the risk by two percent.

The study found sitting and inactivity account for 8.8 percent of global deaths- nearly as much as smoking which accounts for 10.6 percent.

The link was found to be particularly strong in poorer and middle-income countries, which the team say could be because in rich countries, sitting around a lot is associated with high-paying jobs.

The researchers say people who must sit down for this amount of time need to make sure they exercise more.

Young female entrepreneur working sitting at a desk typing on her laptop computer in a home office, view from above
(Ground Picture/Shutterstock)

People who can avoid sitting down for that amount of time should avoid it if they can, they add.

For the study, researchers in Canada and China looked at data on more than 100,000 people in 21 countries who were followed up for an average of 11 years.

Lead study author Professor Scott Lear from Simon Fraser University said: "There is a real opportunity here to minimize how much you sit.

"If you mostly sit, getting in more exercise during other times of the day will offset that risk."

"There is a real opportunity here for people to increase their activity and reduce their chances of an early death and heart disease. It is a low-cost intervention that has an enormous benefit.

‘’It’s a global problem that has a remarkably simple fix. Scheduling time to get out of that chair is a great start.’’

The findings were published in the journal JAMA Cardiology.

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