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Medicine Science

Sit Longer, Die Sooner 341

Posted by timothy
from the hence-supine-on-couch dept.
mcgrew writes "Bad news for most of us here — The Chicago Tribune is reporting that even if you get plenty of exercize, sitting down all day reduces your lifespan. From the article: 'Even after adjusting for body mass index (BMI) and smoking, the researchers found that women who sit more than 6 hours a day were 37 percent more likely to die than those who sit less than 3 hours; for men, long-sitters were 17 percent more likely to die. People who exercise regularly had a lower risk, but still significant, risk of dying. Those who sat a lot and moved less than three and a half hours per day are the most likely to die early: researchers found a 94 percent increased risk for women and 48 percent increase for men, they announced recently in the American Journal of Epidemiology.'"
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Sit Longer, Die Sooner

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2010 @06:29PM (#33387040)

    the researchers found that women who sit more than 6 hours a day were 37 percent more likely to die than those who sit less than 3 hours; for men, long-sitters were 17 percent more likely to die

    You know... I'm pretty sure everyone is 100% likely to die...

    • by Meshach (578918) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @06:38PM (#33387178)

      the researchers found that women who sit more than 6 hours a day were 37 percent more likely to die than those who sit less than 3 hours; for men, long-sitters were 17 percent more likely to die

      You know... I'm pretty sure everyone is 100% likely to die...

      Unless you figure out how to exersize. It might be related to exercise, I cannot tell.

      • The funny thing is that it is spelled correctly later on the same paragraph.

        Well, when in doubt, (and to lazy to look it up) that way you get a 50/50 chance. :-)
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by NemoinSpace (1118137)
          (and too lazy to look it up)

          Pot calling the kettle black ?

          • hahaha...
            Although English is not mi mother tongue, that is definitely a mistake I won't consciously make. On my defense, I can only say: "finger error".
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by derGoldstein (1494129)

              Although English is not mi mother tongue

              You don't say.

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by nomorecwrd (1193329)
                I must read it before submiting
                I must read it before submiting
                I must read it before submiting

                I mast read it before submiting.. darn!
      • by mkiwi (585287) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @07:44PM (#33387788)

        Hey, at least they didn't say exorcise-I'd hate to have to do that on a regular basis.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by sorak (246725)

          Hey, at least they didn't say exorcise-I'd hate to have to do that on a regular basis.

          You hate it? How do you think the ghosts feel. You're dead, you got nothing better to do than sit around some old house, looking at pictures of someone else's family, and finally you just say

          Screw it! I'm bored as hell, so I'm just going to move that figurine, right there. Haha, that'll mess with 'em.

          Oh, they moved it back. Man, I miss my old pony...and being alive. I think the thing I miss most about life is talking to people without them freaking out. They say "oh how I miss uncle Jacob", but all it takes is a little "I miss you too", and suddenly it's all "get a priest this", and "go back to hell that". Why can't I have a cool family that just smokes pot and breaks out the Ouija board. Sure, I can't get a contact buzz, but the pot makes it so much easier to mess with them. I don't even have to move their keys, I just have to wait for them to forget where they left them.

          Then some superstitious old perv comes in, starts splashing water everywhere, and suddenly you're flying back to hell. It's not entirely fair.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by The Hatchet (1766306)

        No, you still die. Everybody dies.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by TooMuchToDo (882796)

      But some of us plan on coming back: http://www.alcor.org/ [alcor.org]

    • by mweather (1089505)
      Not me. Thanks to denial, I'm immortal.
    • by way2trivial (601132) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @06:56PM (#33387394) Homepage Journal

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population#Number_of_humans_who_have_ever_lived [wikipedia.org]

      Estimates of "the total number of people who have ever lived" published in the 2000s range approximately from 100 to 115 billion (1 E11).

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population [wikipedia.org]
      The world population is the population of humans on the planet Earth. In 2009, the United Nations estimated the population to reach 7,000,000,000 in 2011;[1] current estimates by the United States Census Bureau put the population at 6,864,700,000.[2]

      Math
      7/100 or 7/115

      it's really only an 93-94% mortality rate so far.. who knows what tomorrow will bring
      I'm currently beating the odds......

    • I'm pretty sure everyone is 100% likely to die.

      Well, not everyone has died yet, you know...

      I, for one, hope that immortality will be one of medical science's accomplishments during my lifetime.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Immortality is a physics problem. Doctors may be able to prolong life, but I doubt they will solve the universes inevitable end (big crunch, heat death, proton decay, or whatever). I am still pretty confident that everyone has to die.

        • by derGoldstein (1494129) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @08:31PM (#33388102) Homepage
          Well, if you're going to be literal about it -- there's no stable definition for *life* at all. I can't find the article, but I think it was slashdotted within the past month.

          The simpler definitions for life must include crystal growth and possibly fire. The more complicated ones, which exclude what we'd consider "chemical" or "mechanical", don't exclude botnets and some internet-spreading malware. Under some definitions, warez can be considered a parasitic organism, and any programmable computer as a form of host to all sorts of "life forms".

          Now add the blurry definitions for "consciousness" and what "being self-aware" means, along with the debate over whether or not we have free will on any level, and you could say that we are both dead and alive at the same time, and/or that our property of "being alive" flickers on and off.
    • You know... I'm pretty sure everyone is 100% likely to die...

      That's no reason to take it sitting down. (Ba-dum-tssss [instantrimshot.nl])

    • by john83 (923470)

      the researchers found that women who sit more than 6 hours a day were 37 percent more likely to die than those who sit less than 3 hours; for men, long-sitters were 17 percent more likely to die

      You know... I'm pretty sure everyone is 100% likely to die...

      It's probably a quote or a rephrasing from the paper. In that case "during the period of the study" is implied.

    • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @07:31PM (#33387692)

      It's pretty obvious that:

      1. the more time you spend sitting, the more likely you are to die sitting,
      2. the more time you spend standing, the more likely you are to die standing,
      3. the more time you spend lying down, the more likely you are to die lying down, and
      4. the more time you spend switching between these, the more likely you are to die on the set of Whose Line Is It Anyway?
    • by bhiestand (157373) on Friday August 27, 2010 @01:30AM (#33389424) Journal

      the researchers found that women who sit more than 6 hours a day were 37 percent more likely to die than those who sit less than 3 hours; for men, long-sitters were 17 percent more likely to die

      You know... I'm pretty sure everyone is 100% likely to die...

      Speak for yourself. My life insurance agent promised me that I will never see a penny of that money.

  • by jlechem (613317)
    I had a good run, too much effort to get up and go outside.
  • "Exersize"? (Score:3, Funny)

    by PhxBlue (562201) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @06:31PM (#33387066) Homepage Journal
    I think "exersize" is what you call someone who doesn't exercise. :)
  • by SOdhner (1619761) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @06:32PM (#33387072) Homepage Journal
    If I start to add up all the things I do that make me more likely to die it gets depressing fast. In fact, I'm now so depressed all I have the energy to do is sit here and eat ice cream. God damn it.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2010 @06:42PM (#33387234)

      What you need is an excuse to go outside and stroll around at regular intervals. Like smoking.

    • I know - like what exactly are they trying to say? Don't sit? Theres far more risk in driving your car, walking across the street, drinking, smoking...

      I mean, Aging is mostly caused by breathing Oxygen! I mean, you'll live longer if you breath, but it will increase your risk of dieing.

      I'd like to see how long someone could survive if they were never allowed to sit. You can't spell guilty conscience without science!

    • by Bryansix (761547)
      The good news is that both eating nuts and drinking beer REDUCE your mortality rate.
  • by dissy (172727) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @06:33PM (#33387092)

    the researchers found that women who sit more than 6 hours a day were 37 percent more likely to die than those who sit less than 3 hours; for men, long-sitters were 17 percent more likely to die

    Wow. There is ANY percentage of people that are not likely to die?

    I shall never sit again!

    • Wow. There is ANY percentage of people that are not likely to die?

      I shall never sit again!

      A highlander [wikipedia.org] ? But since there can be only one it's probably well within the error bars. Now that I think of it I didn't see him do much sitting either.

  • by e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @06:33PM (#33387098)

    the researchers found that women who sit more than 6 hours a day were 37 percent more likely to die than those who sit less than 3 hours

    ORLY?
    I thought the two groups were equally certain to die...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DeadDecoy (877617)
      Stupid (multiple) copy-paste summaries never mention source. Hell they don't even get the title right. The article is: "Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults" with the link at Oxford Journals [oxfordjournals.org]. Basically, they looked at men and women ages ~50-70 and found an increased rate in death for those who sat around like lumps vs those that got exercise. It looks like 20% of the men died and 10% of the women (though I don't have the values give those that answer
    • Ah but the longer you survive, the more likely you are to live until the day a immortality serum is invented...

  • *sigh*

    Well, I just bought myself an elliptical machine. I guess now I should buy a standing computer desk [google.com] for work.

    • I've thought about getting these before too. Would standing in one place be any better than sitting in the same place, I wonder? I already have an angled cushion at work to try to simulate standing position and improve my posture (sitting on a flat surface makes it extremely difficult to have good posture), I wonder if that makes any difference to just slouching back in your chair..

    • by timeOday (582209)
      This is timely for me because just yesterday I just in an order for a DVI splitter, second monitor, keyboard and mouse to add a stand-up terminal on my work computer. You don't need a second computer, or a KVM, etc; linux handles a second USB/mouse as you would expect, and I'd imagine Windows is the same.

      I ordered this because, even though I run daily, my back is starting to tire too easily. It's funny because I'm only in my mid-30s. I think it is my ergonomic chair, turning my back muscles to jelly.

  • by Tester (591)

    It's interesting that women who sit more than 6 hours are 37% more likely to die. I'm curious to know the absolute percentage of women who die versus the women who don't die. I heard the Virgin Mary didn't die (but went to heaven directly). I'd be curious to about other women who have similar advantages.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2010 @06:39PM (#33387194)

    Totally anecdotal; I haven't done a scientific study, but I have noticed that Buddhist monks, you know, that guys that sit perfectly still 8 hours a day 7 days a week, tend to live much, much longer than the average person. I think that is a bit of a hole in their study.

    • by mpeskett (1221084) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @10:53PM (#33388850)

      It's a bastardly nitpicking point and I think your point is a good one despite it, but any group consisting mostly of adults will show a higher life expectancy than average because it excludes the hump of child mortality. Vegetarians can probably quite honestly claim to live longer than average, since most vegetarians decide to adopt their diet at some point after infancy, but the same could be said of any other adult group.

      I don't have any data to hand on Buddhist monks, but I'd guess that they tend to already be adults before they get really devoted to it, so the same effect would be at work. But, the fact that they aren't all horribly unhealthy despite the hours of meditation does challenge the idea that physical inactivity directly correlates with mortality.

      Maybe it's the diet; low energy food with a low energy lifestyle has to be better for you than crappy food and 8 hours in an office chair (followed by another hour or two in the car and several more hours sat about at home). Or all the meditation, as against physical inactivity while working; I hear stress can do nasty things to your health.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday August 26, 2010 @06:39PM (#33387196) Homepage Journal

    The article doesn't cover correlation vs. causation at all. Does anyone have a link to an abstract or similar?

    • The article doesn't, but the abstract of the actual paper [oxfordjournals.org] says all participants (53,440 men and 69,776 women) were disease free at enrollment and the followup period was 14 years. Moreover they adjusted for smoking, body mass index, and "other factors." Too bad the full paper is behind a paywall. However the case for causation looks quite strong.
      • by Un pobre guey (593801) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @07:09PM (#33387508) Homepage
        The abstract ends with this disturbing assertion based on their statistical study of a large amount of empirical data:
        "The time spent sitting was independently associated with total mortality, regardless of physical activity level. Public health messages should include both being physically active and reducing time spent sitting."

        In effect, no matter what else you do, the more time you spend sitting, the shorter your lifespan. That is some nasty shit.
  • What do they do the remaining 21 hours? Lie down?

    • by Urza9814 (883915)

      Yes. Or stand. Most people sleep for around 8 hours....and then plenty of people have jobs where they are unable to sit, so that's another 8 hours. For the last 5 hours - maybe they lie down, exercise, put in some overtime, do random jobs at home that involve standing or walking, maybe gardening (doesn't say they don't kneel)....plenty of ways you can not sit. I mean, how are you going to sit for 21 hours? Computer, TV, office job...and that's about it.

  • Leave a good looking corpse and/or zombie husk!

    You'll live longer if you ignore every stupid news story that's trying to get your attention by claiming you're going to die or live, depending on the content of said article. Not convincing enough. Sitting should just cause some interesting bowel cancer or some other less boring outcome. I want my 45 seconds back for reading that summary!

  • Duh! (Score:4, Funny)

    by martin-boundary (547041) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @06:45PM (#33387268)
    A stationary target is much easier to hit by a falling piano, but walk around a bit, and you'll only lose a kidney from the flying wood splinters.
  • "exersize?" Really? Do you guys actually read what you type before posting?

  • They recommend the following, although there is no indication whether this comes from the cited article or it is an ex recto list:

    "To squeeze in some more exercise at the office, try a few of these tips:
    • "Take frequent laps around the office or outside.
    • "Find an exercise buddy at work and agree to get off your butts several times each day.
    • "Stand up and stretch every hour. Set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you.
    • "Do calf raises: while standing, push yourself up on your toes, hold, and release.
  • Abstract.

    I'm just wondering what the cause of increased mortality was. Was it the increased sitting, or some third factor that was also the cause of these people sitting more?

  • Exercise Ball (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tobiah (308208) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @06:56PM (#33387382)

    I sit on one of those exercise balls while programming. It keeps you moving and discourages slouching.

  • First off, here is a link to the abstract of the paper itself [oxfordjournals.org] (if anyone could find a non-locked version, I'd be interested in reading).

    Secondly, this study seems to have left out a lot of time from the day. Primarily, the study looks at humans who have spent greater than 6 hours per day sitting, or less than 3 hours per day sitting. What it doesn't do is discuss relevant times that were spent doing other things. For instance, suppose you sit right on the threshold. Suppose someone sits for 6 hours a day
  • by joelsanda (619660) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @07:00PM (#33387424) Homepage
    As George Carlin said, "Eat well, stay fit, and die anyway."
  • Quote from Carl, Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @07:16PM (#33387572)

    FYI - similar information was reported in BusinessWeek a few months ago, referencing studies from as far back as 2005

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_19/b4177071221162.htm [businessweek.com]

    One approach to avoiding these problems is the treadmill desk. [google.com] Around five years ago I had a leg injury that made sitting very painful - driving was torture - so I spent about a year standing in front a raised desk each work day. It took about a week to get used to it (the alternative being constant pain from sitting down probably helped to speed my acclimation). Once I had adjusted, I found standing just as comfortable as sitting. I expect that using a treadmill to simply walk at a very leisurely pace would be just as easy and I am planning to furnish my home office with one once the new house is built.

  • Original source (Score:5, Informative)

    by alexhs (877055) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @07:21PM (#33387608) Homepage Journal

    Of course with reposts of reposts the story can get a little inaccurate...

    So the most obvious difference is that they're talking about leisure time spent sitting.
    Also, it seems that the correlation is by means of "everything else being equal" (which is ok by itself, but the reporting is screwing about that). It doesn't mean that people with regular physical activity but sitting a lot have a higher mortality rate than people with lesser physical activity but sitting less, only that for the same level of activity, people sitting more in their leisure time have a higher mortality rate.

  • Everyone is 100% likely to die. To record, there are no immortal humans. And since there is no accurate way to predict when someone is going to die (without scheduling executions) no figures can possibly approach accuracy as the life span of one human has little to do with the life span of another human... at least in the same sense of one coin toss has no relation to the outcome of another coin toss.

  • Damn, I'm 117% likely to die. It's not fair!

  • by ikarous (1230832) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @08:09PM (#33387970)

    Sitting just hurts.

    I'm young and in good health, so I haven't given much thought to the long term health implications of too much sitting. What I can anecdotally report is that the more time I spend in a chair, the worse I feel. The relationship is almost linear. Not coincidentally, the realization didn't dawn on me until after I graduated from college and began working full time. Before graduation, I spent a lot of time on my feet walking to and from class and to work, since I had the good fortune to have an internship within walking distance of my college campus. This was only eight months ago, but the change in my energy level is very discernible. I can only imagine how pronounced the effect would be when magnified over the course of many years.

    But that's just the job. I imagine that for most of the Slashdot audience, sitting at work is often unavoidable, unless you can afford a nice walkstation setup. What about when you're not actually at your desk, though? Usually, you're still sitting, even if you're going somewhere.

    The biggest sitting problem (for Americans, at least) outside of work is that our cities, our jobs, and even our recreation is not really intended for pedestrians. I love to walk, but many places and jobs are not pedestrian-friendly. I have so grown to loathe driving that my long term plans include moving to a city where it's easier to get places by walking or riding a bike, possibly for this reason alone. Currently I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, which I feel is one of the least walkable areas on the planet (though there are notable neighborhoods that provide exceptions). The metropolitan area has suffered badly from the urban sprawl blight, so if you're lucky enough to live with your romantic partner, chances are, at least one of you is going to have to deal with a commute. The course of my day starts off with a thirty minute drive, followed by sitting on my tush for the subsequent eight hours. Then I drive another forty-five minutes home. Unless I then drive to the nearest gym, which, due to the sprawl here, is likely to be more than six miles away, I'm pretty much stuck indoors again. Side note: a 117 degree heat index does not a happy human make. I have seen Texans drive to their mail box.

    The economic forces that drive sprawl really kill the cores of cities and make life miserable for commuters. My partner is burgeoning traffic engineer, and he's taught me some of the things that walkability projects can do to improve life for both residents and businesses in a city. Suburban Nation is an excellent read on the subject. You can also check out Walkscore [walkscore.com] to see how your neighborhood ranks. It's pretty neat stuff, and I wish more people would care about this issue.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by TeknoHog (164938)

      The biggest sitting problem (for Americans, at least) outside of work is that our cities, our jobs, and even our recreation is not really intended for pedestrians.

      I think the biggest problem is that "pedestrian" is a bit like "pederast". I'll rather take the car than be confused with one of those.

  • I hate to skewer this research quite so comprehensively, but if I was about to die I would certainly want to have a little sit-down. Did they control for that?
  • Being trapped all day in a small grey box while click click clicking on things displayed on a smaller box has adverse health effects? But its so natural, what we evolved for. Not at all like being an animal in a cramped, sterile, never changing zoo environment, endlessly trying to find the door out that never appears.

  • If this is true I should have been dead years ago.
  • Long term standing creates a list of potential health issues as well (including increased risk for atherosclerosis) :

    http://www.cwhn.ca/en/node/40808 [www.cwhn.ca]

    The message is likely moderation in all things.

  • if you eventually die anyway.
  • by Psaakyrn (838406) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @09:10PM (#33388368)
    Other than sitting, standing, walking, and laying down, I can't really think of what else to do. Given 12 hours sleep and 3 hours sitting, that still leaves me with 9 hours of whatever. I can't really imagine why I'd need to stand or walk for more than 4 hours... Maybe I'll just go and lie down some more. That's still ok, right?
  • Bad Study (Score:3, Insightful)

    by b4upoo (166390) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @09:48PM (#33388560)

    School kids and college kids would be dropping like flies. They sit a lot.
                                  In older folks with medical issues sitting is a forced situation as death and infirmities tighten their grip. Yes, if you go in a nursing home it is hard to find many inmates that walk more than 30 minutes a day. Then again college students, in order to attend classes and do their studies, often sit more than ten hours a day.
                                  One wonders if these studies took age and illness into consideration? As a matter of fact young folks smart enough to go to college are not involved in active military service and spend less time on motorcycles and scuba diving etc.. I'll bet that non college young folks suffer far greater death rates and those who do not go to college probably stand a lot more hours each day. After all ditch digging offers little sitting time.

  • by definate (876684) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:16AM (#33389544)

    Here is the original report: Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults [scribd.com]

    Such large sample sizes scare me. When you've got 100,000 data points, almost anything seems statistically significant.

    Having a look at the abstract of the page "Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults" [oxfordjournals.org], I am not sure about some of this... After reading that, I got more interested in it and just got the original article, though that doesn't help much, it's missing a lot of summary data, none the less...

    • The results were via questionnaire, my guess is that people who believe they are more healthy, would underestimate the amount they sit, and people who don't, might overestimate it.
    • 50% to 73% of the people who answered these questionnaires were "Retired/homemaker" with the mean age being 63.6 (standard deviation, 6) for me, and 61.9 (standard deviation, 6.5) for women. This was when they enrolled in the study in 1992, making them on average 77.6 for men, and 75.9 for women. For comparison look at the life expectancy data for people born in those years, this puts them firmly in the timespan where they were expected [uconn.edu] to die.
    • Looking at the mean ages, there is a correlation between hours sat per day, and mean age. So those who are apart of the group who sits more, are also those who are oldest.
    • On the mens side 52% to 57% are former smokers. On the womens side 48% to 60% never smoked, which might be correct for that generation but I am uncertain. Though they have corrected for this, I wonder how they corrected, and if that correction is legitimate.
    • There appears to be an abnormally large amount of people who have NEVER consumed alcohol for women that's 44% to 47%, and for me that's 31% to 32%. This seems amazing of this sample, since I don't drink, and everyone points out how weird it is.
    • This sample group was obtained from participants in the American Cancer Society's CPS-II Nutrition Cohort, as such the sample might over represent people worried about cancer and similar illnesses because they have higher instances of it in their family. They had people report their personal history to control for some of these things, but not their family history.

    Additionally I would really need to get into their statistical method more, and get their original data, as it looks like there could be many more problems.

    I would take this study, with a fuck load of salt.

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Friday August 27, 2010 @05:01AM (#33390100)
    But now it's confirmed.

HEAD CRASH!! FILES LOST!! Details at 11.

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