ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta)– Sitting for long periods of time is not linked with an increased risk of dying, according to a new study.
Previous research has indicated mixed results on the negative effects associated with sitting for long hours, prompting many office workers to stand at work or take laps.
The recent findings from University of Exeter and University College London researchers found that sitting is no worse than standing for a person who doesn’t otherwise move the body, as reported by The Washington Post.
Researchers evaluated 16 years’ worth of data from more than 5,000 people. Participants recorded their total time sitting, including time at work, watching television, leisure time, and non-television leisure time. Researchers also took note of walking levels and daily physical activity.
The study indicates that the overall risk of death for participants wasn’t influenced by how long they sat, regardless of diet and general health factors.
“Our study overturns current thinking on the health risks of sitting and indicates that the problem lies in the absence of movement rather than the time spent sitting itself,” study author Melvyn Hillsdon of the University of Exeter said in a statement. “Any stationary posture where energy expenditure is low may be detrimental to health, be it sitting or standing.”
Some health experts have previously encouraged workers to move or take breaks for two hours out of an eight-hour work day. A 2010 study consisting of more than 120,000 adults over 14 years suggested that people who sat more than six hours a day had a 18 percent higher mortality rate, compared to those who spent less than three hours sitting. But the recent findings indicate that solutions, such as standing desks, may not be the answer.
“The results of this study suggest that policy makers should be cautious about recommending sitting reductions without also recommending increases in physical activity,” they conclude.
The CDC recommends that individuals between the ages of 18 and 64 get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly, in addition to muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.