Study: Extensive Sitting Linked to Increased Risk of Chronic Disease, Regardless of Physical Activity

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According to a new study published yesterday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, sedentary time, or time spent sitting, is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and early death, regardless of a person's physical activity level.

The lead researchers, based out of the the University of Toronto, conducted a meta-analysis of prior studies focused on sedentary behavior and its consequences.

The study found that although the increase in risk for these chronic diseases was less pronounced in individuals with high activity levels, exercise did not completely offset the harmful effects of prolonged sitting. This suggests that even high levels of exercise may not be enough for an individual who spends the majority of his or her day sedentary.

In cases in which an individual showed low levels of activity level, the adverse health effects of sedentary behavior were far more pronounced. The lead researchers remarked that further study will be required to determine how much exercise is necessary to offset the effects of sitting.

The goal of the study was to demonstrate the need to reduce an individual's sedentary time throughout a given day. This reduction could have marked positive effects on a person's risk for chronic diseases.

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