Why Sitting Is Dangerous For Your Health

| by Sheena Vasani
A woman massages her back as she sits uncomfortably in a desk chairA woman massages her back as she sits uncomfortably in a desk chair

Sitting down for long periods of time -- such as throughout the workday -- can be bad for your health.

A Dutch study has found that every hour of inactivity increases one’s likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes by 22 percent, the Daily Mail reports. And going to the gym doesn’t help.

“Our findings could have important implications for public health, as they suggest that sedentary behavior may play a significant role in the development and prevention of Type 2 diabetes, independent of high-intensity physical activity,” lead study author Julianne van der Berg said, according to the Daily Mail.

“Consideration should be given to including strategies to reduce the amount of sedentary time in diabetes prevention programs.”

This study is one of many revealing the link between sitting for a long time and poor health outcomes, ranging from obesity to back pain.

Indeed, the National Kidney Foundation cites a 2012 study that found sitting increased the likelihood of developing kidney disease. Further, the effects varied based on gender.

“In terms of kidney function, traditional moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, jogging or running on the treadmill, may be more important for men, whereas reducing prolonged periods of sitting time may be more important for women,” lead researcher Dr. Thomas Yates said.

The British government’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, called inactivity a “silent killer.”

However, a British study published in October 2015 revealed sitting for long periods of time did not increase the likelihood of an early death, the Daily Mail reported.

“Our findings suggest that reducing sitting time might not be quite as important for mortality risk as previously publicized,” lead study author Dr. Richard Pulsford said.

“Policy makers should be cautious in recommending a reduction in the time spent sitting without also promoting increased physical activity,” co-author Dr. Melvyn Hillsdon said. “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.”

Sources: Daily Mail (2), National Kidney Foundation / Photo Credit: Cathe

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