Each year people go into September with a number of resolutions. Exercising and not spending so much time on the couch tend to be some of these good intentions. 31% of the worldwide population does not meet the current recommendations for physical activity according to several studies published in 2012 by the journal ‘Lancet’.
After an increasing amount of research has already outlined the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time, a new study has now found that long periods of inactivity are to blame for nearly 4 percent of all deaths worldwide.
In order to properly assess the damaging effects of sitting, the study analysed behavioural surveys from 54 countries around the world and matched them with statistics on population size, an actuarial table, and overall deaths.
Researchers from the University Of Sao Paulo School Of Medicine in Brazil found that sitting time significantly impacted all-cause mortality, accounting for approximately 433,000, or 3.8%, of all deaths across the 54 nations in the study.
Reducing sitting time to less than three hours per day would increase life expectancy by an average of 0.2 years, the researchers estimated.
“It is important to minimise sedentary behaviour in order to prevent premature deaths around the world,” said the lead author of the study Leandro Rezende from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.
He also highlighted that “cutting down on the amount of time we sit could increase life expectancy by 0.20 years in the countries analysed.”
They also found that sitting had a higher impact on mortality rates in the Western Pacific region, followed by European, Eastern Mediterranean, American, and Southeast Asian countries, respectively.
The present findings support the importance of promoting active lifestyles (more physical activity and less sitting) as an important aspect of premature mortality prevention worldwide, and therefore the need for global action to reduce this risk factor.