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Stay Healthy by Avoiding Prolonged Leisure Sitting

Prolonged Leisure Sitting Linked to Death from all Causes

Prolonged Leisure Sitting Linked to Higher Risk of Death

A study from the American Cancer Society published June 26, 2018, in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that too much sedentary prolonged leisure sitting was linked to a higher risk of death from all causes including coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, suicide, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonitis, liver and other digestive diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, nervous disorders and musculoskeletal disorders.

The Television and Computers are the Main Reasons for Prolonged Sitting

The study used information from the American Cancer Society CPS-II Nutrition Cohort, which included 127,554 people who had been healthy and free of chronic diseases when they joined the study. They were followed up for 21 years from 1993-2014 during which time 48,754 died.

The researchers found that most of the prolonged leisure sitting time was in front of the TV or in front of the computer screen. The researchers concluded that prolonged sitting time was six hours a day or more. In fact, the damage from prolonged sitting was so bad, that it did not help if people also engaged in physical activity during the time they were not sitting. Sitting for six hours or more is just too long.

Sitting Associated with 19% Higher Rate of Death

In the study prolonged leisure time sitting was associated with a 19% higher rate of death from all causes combined in comparison to sitting less than 3 hours per day.

While the study did not do research to discover why prolonged sitting leads to death from all causes, the researchers speculate that:

  • The time spent sitting may be taking time away from what formerly was some kind of activity, including light amounts of daily activity.
  • Time spent sitting may be associated with other unhealthy habits like snacking on junk food or smoking while watching TV.
  • Time spent sitting impacts negatively on the body’s hormone levels and the function of the immune system. This may be a factor in the link between sitting time and death.

Take breaks and Reduce the Amount of Sitting Time

According to the study’s lead author Alpa Patel, PhD, American Cancer Society Sr Scientific Director, Epidemiology Research, more effort must be made to take more breaks and to reduce the time spent sitting. She makes the following suggestions:

While watching TV do something like standing and folding laundry.
While sitting do simple physical stretching exercises.
Take walking breaks away from your office.
Use the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
Use the farthest bathroom from your desk.

Engage in Moderate to Vigorous Intensity Activity

The American Cancer Society recommends that adults engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week preferably spread throughout the week and not just on one or two days.
For kids, the recommendation is to get at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous-intensity activity daily, and at least three days a week of vigorous-intensity activity.

Choose a Rehab that Offers Physical Activity and Exercise

If you or your loved one need to go to short or long-term rehab care, make sure to choose a rehab that offers plenty of physical activity and exercise.

The Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center in Brooklyn, New York

The Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center in Brooklyn, New York has a state-of-the-art gym and offers all kinds of physical therapy and exercise. Ditmas even offers a post cardiac surgery exercise program.

Brooklyn Hospitals near Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center

New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital

NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn (formerly named NYU Lutheran Medical Center)

SUNY Downstate Medical Center – University Hospital of Brooklyn

NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County

Maimonides Medical Center


Seniors may remember the good old days before television and computers, when people might go out once a week to a movie, as there was only a radio or record player at home.

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