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August 18, 2011 | 2 minute read

August is Don’t Sit Down Month

This month, there’s a lot of new research pointing to why you should be standing a bit more.

The August American Journal of Preventive Medicine journal is a themed issue about sedentary behavior and its health effects. In short, and perhaps not that surprising, too much sitting is bad for our health.

Exactly what leads us to be sedentary and how we can break those habits is the topic of several of the studies. Here’s the table of contents where you can read all the abstracts.

How much TV we watch is a common measure of sedentary behavior and this week, an Australian study made some life-shortening headlines. The study found that watching TV for an average of six hours per day could shorten viewers’ lives by almost five years, when compared to people who watch no TV. On average, every hour of TV adults (after age 25) watched reduced their life expectancy by 22 minutes – about the time of an average sitcom.

The study was published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Of course, there are many reasons why sedentary living may cut short TV lovers’ lives. Watching a lot of TV is linked to poor diets and being overweight, two risk factors for many chronic diseases.

But sedentary behavior – as opposed to not getting enough exercise – has emerged as a distinct risk factor for cancer, heart disease and others. The cancer-sedentary behavior link was highlighted in an issue of Cancer Research Update. The topic is also featured at AICR’s research conference in November.

Whether it’s TV watching or computer time, sedentary living is a big part of the day for many. For those who have broken some sedentary habits, any suggestions?

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