CINCINNATI - Sitting down may be part of your day between work or watching TV, but a new study says the amount of time we spend sitting can reduce our life expectancy.
If most people in the United State spent less than three hours a day sitting, it would add two years to the average life expectancy, according to the study published Monday by the online journal BMJ Open. Also, most Americans can add 1.4 years to their lives if they reduce the amount of television they watch to less than two hours a day.
Researchers analyzed data collected for the National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey and found that Americans can boost their life expectancy by reducing how much time they spend sitting down.
"Sitting is a dangerous risk factor for early death, on par with smoking and being obese," Peter Katzmarzyk, a researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge and lead author of the study, said a USA Today article about the findings.
In the study, scientists looked at studies that evaluated sitting and compared it with other causes of death.
Additionally, scientists reviewed government data that show almost half of people reported sitting more than six hours a day. And 65 percent of people in the government data said they spend more than two hours a day watching TV.
The researchers found that if people sat for less than three hours a day, the average life expectancy in this country would be 80.5 years instead of the current 78.5 years, according to the study.
To combat sitting down for long periods of time, experts suggest getting up to talk to co-workers, standing up or doing another non-sedentary activity while watching TV or making time to stretch while at your desk.
To read the full study, go to http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/2/4/e000828.full .
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