Don’t just sit there!
In Sitting comfortably? Time to move. we wrote about the health problems associated with too much sitting. Now research from Northern Ireland suggests spending large amounts of time sitting each day is linked to around 50,000 deaths per year in the UK, with the NHS spending in excess of £700million per year treating the health consequences.
Many of us are moving less than ever, due to our jobs and leisure activities, yet while previous studies have shown that spending large parts of the day sitting down increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and death, the full impact is not always appreciated. This study set out to examine the financial impact on the NHS – and as the £700million figure suggests, the results make disturbing reading.
The figures were calculated by examining the impact sedentary behaviour has on the relative risks of five specific health conditions (type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, endometrial cancer and lung cancer) and deaths from all causes were combined with figures on the percentage of adults who are sedentary on any given day of the week to estimate the overall impact sedentary behaviour has at a UK population level. Figures on sedentary behaviour were taken from the Health Survey for England 2012, which reported that 30% of adults in England spent at least six hours/day sedentary on weekdays and that this increased to 37% of adults on weekends.
Cutting to the chase, the researchers contend their results suggest that 11.6% of all deaths were associated with sedentary behaviour and that 69,276 deaths might have been avoided in 2016 if sedentary behaviour was eliminated in the UK.
Clearly this observational study has its limitations, but the authors actually believe that the costs are if anything a conservative estimate, as other disorders associated with sedentary behaviour were not included in their analysis. On a personal level, its yet another reason to stand up for your health – and even better, just move more.
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