Too much sitting down is killing people — and it is on the rise, according to the latest data.
Unfortunately, in just over a decade, US adults have increased their average sitting time each day from 5.5 hours to almost 6.5 hours.
Among adolescents, the figure has gone from seven hours per day in 2007 to eight hours per day in 2016.
Time spent in front of a screen increased substantially during this period.
One-quarter of people said they used their computer outside of work or school for at least three hours per day.
Inactivity is linked to a wide range of diseases including heart problems, obesity, diabetes and certain cancers.
Dr Yin Cao, study co-author, said:
“In almost none of the groups we analyzed are the numbers going in the right direction.
We want to raise awareness about this issue on multiple levels — from individuals and families to schools, employers and elected officials.”
The conclusions come from an analysis of over 51,000 people in the US of all different ages who were surveyed between 2001 and 2016.
It tracked how much time people spent sitting, including in front of TVs and computers.
Professor Graham A. Colditz, study co-author, said:
“How we create public policies or promote social change that supports less sitting is unclear and likely to be complicated.
If a neighborhood in a disadvantaged community is unsafe, for example, parents can’t just send their kids outside to play.
Our environments — the way our cities, our school days and working days are designed — play roles in this behavior that are difficult to change.
But at least now, we have a baseline from which to measure whether specific changes are having an impact.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Yang et al., 2019).