How can we mitigate the health risks of sitting too much at work?

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

People who sit for prolonged periods at work have a 16% higher risk of death from any cause and a 34% higher risk of heart disease, according to an international study that followed almost 500,000 people over 13 years. The study looked at how much the participants sat at work, how much they exercised in their free time, their health outcomes and any deaths over the 13-year period. The researchers say people who sat all day at work but exercised for 15-30 minutes a day outside work had a similar risk of death to people who did not sit at work, but were inactive in their free time. The researchers say that while their study supports the evidence that a desk job can be harmful to health, reducing the amount of sitting time at work and exercising more outside work can help reduce the risks.

Journal/conference: JAMA Network Open

Link to research (DOI): 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.50680

Organisation/s: Taipei Medical University, Taiwan

Funder: Dr Gao received grants TMU110-AE1-B06 and TMU110-6216-003-111 from Taipei Medical
University, grant MOST111-2314-B-038-044 from the Ministry of Science and Technology Taiwan, and grant
DP2-111-21121-01-O-12 from the Ministry of Education Taiwan. Dr Sanna received intracollegiate research funding
(grant TMU109-AE1-B17) from Taipei Medical University. This study is supported in part by Taiwan Ministry of
Health andWelfare Clinical Trial Center (grant MOHW109-TDU-B-212-114004), MOST Clinical Trial Consortium for
Stroke (grant MOST 109-2321-B-039-002), China Medical University Hospital (grant DMR-109-231), and the
Tseng-Lien Lin Foundation, Taichung, Taiwan. This work was also partially supported by the Higher Education
Sprout Project of the Ministry of Education in Taiwan.

Media release

From: JAMA

Occupational Sitting Time, Leisure Physical Activity, and All-Cause and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality

About The Study: In this study involving 481,000 individuals over a mean follow-up period of nearly 13 years, individuals who predominantly engaged in sitting at work exhibited a higher risk of mortality from all causes and cardiovascular disease compared with those who predominantly did not sit. Individuals who predominantly sit at work would need to engage in an additional 15 to 30 minutes of physical activity per day to mitigate this increased risk and reach the same level of risk as individuals who predominantly do not sit at work.


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