Sitting boosts risk of death

We spend so much of our days sitting—we sit at work, in the car, while watching TV in the evenings. But sitting may have health risks, even to the point of increasing the risk of death. As with so many things, moderation is key, especially when it comes to sitting and watching television. Researchers in Australia studied 8,800 adults (over age 25) for 6.5 years, and found that each hour of sitting per day raised the risk of death from heart disease by 18% and the overall mortality rate b y 11%. Study participants who watched over four hours of TV per day had an 80% greater risk of death from heart disease and a whopping 46% higher risk of dying overall.

Adults with heart disease were excluded from the study, and the results were unchanged even after researchers adjusted for factors like exercise habit, waist circumference, diet and smoking. Not surprisingly, the researchers recommended reducing time spent watching television, and being sedentary.

Don't be too smug if you don't own a television or even watch much TV. In interviews, the researchers made clear it wasn't the shows or even the actual watching of TV that shaved years off of people's lives, it was the sitting.

They contend that their results would have remained the same whether study participants were reading a book, doing needlepoint, or working at a computer. Even jogging 5 miles every morning before work wouldn't skew these results. If you spend the remainder of the day sitting, your risk rises just the same.