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Sitting down may increase risk of dying

March 30, 2012

An Australian study highlights the importance of not sitting down for long periods.

Reducing the amount of time you spend sitting down each day could significantly improve your chances of survival, new research suggests.

Scientists at the University of Sydney's School of Public Health studied more than 200,000 people.

Unsurprisingly, they found that inactive people who sat down the most were twice as likely to die within three years as active people who sat the least.

Even among inactive people, those who sat the most had almost a third higher chance of dying than those who sat the least.

The findings, which are published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, suggest that people may be able to reduce their chance of falling ill and relying on their private medical insurance by limiting the amount of time they spend sitting down.

Lead study author Dr Hidde van der Ploeg, a senior research fellow at the University of Sydney, said the findings have "important public health implications".

He advised: "That morning walk or trip to the gym is still necessary, but it's also important to avoid prolonged sitting.

"Our results suggest the time people spend sitting at home, work and in traffic should be reduced by standing or walking more."

Current NHS guidelines state that adults between the ages of 19 and 64 should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.

Muscle-strengthening exercises are also recommended on two or more days per week.

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