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Sitting at work for long? 15-30 minutes of extra exercise can cut high death risk

IANS Jan 22, 2024

People who predominantly sit at work would need to engage in an additional 15 to 30 minutes of physical activity per day to mitigate an increased risk of mortality, new research has revealed.

The study involving 481,688 individuals over a mean follow-up period of 12.8 years found that individuals, who predominantly engaged in sitting at work, exhibited a higher risk of mortality from all causes (16 per cent) and cardiovascular disease (34 per cent) compared with those who predominantly did not sit.

Modern lifestyles have become increasingly sedentary, with prolonged sitting now pervasive as an integral part of normal life, even though, with some exceptions, the scientific literature agrees on its deleterious effects.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, suggests that reducing prolonged sitting in the workplace and/or increasing the volume or intensity of daily physical activity may be beneficial in mitigating the elevated risks of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease associated with prolonged occupational sitting, the authors said.

The cohort study included participants in a health surveillance programme in Taiwan who were followed up between 1996 and 2017.

Data on occupational sitting, leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) habits, lifestyle, and metabolic parameters were collected. Data analysis was performed in December 2020.

The all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality associated with three occupational sitting volumes (mostly sitting, alternating sitting and non-sitting, and mostly non-sitting) were analysed.

The study recorded 26, 257 deaths during a mean follow-up period of 12.8 (5.67) years.

After adjusting for sex, age, education, smoking, drinking, and body mass index, individuals who mostly sat at work had a 16 per cent higher all-cause mortality risk and a 34 per cent increased mortality risk from CVD compared with those who were mostly non-sitting at work.

In this study, alternating between sitting and non-sitting at work, as well as an extra 15 to 30 minutes per day of physical activity attenuated the harms of prolonged occupational sitting.

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