What's the Latest Development?

A study of more than 200,000 Australians found that people who sat more than 11 hours a day had a 40% higher risk of dying in the next three years than people who sat less than four hours a day. "This was after adjusting for factors such as age, weight, physical activity and general health status, all of which affect the death risk. It also found a clear dose-response effect: the more people sat, the higher their risk of death." The results are part of the Sax Institute's 45 and Up Study, the largest ongoing study of healthy aging in the Southern Hemisphere.

What's the Big Idea?

Whether people were healthy or sick, active or inactive, their chances of dying in the next three years were greatly increased relative to the amount of time they spent sitting. And while exercising five or more hours per week greatly decreased the negative effects of sitting, those effects continued to rise the longer active people sat. An editorial accompanying the study suggests "that the evidence is now strong enough that doctors should prescribe reduced sitting time to their patients. But there's no reason that people can't be proactive and write their own prescription here."

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