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Medicine Science

Sit Longer, Die Sooner 341

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 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2010 @06:40PM (#33387208)

    I've done it, works well. I spent ages looking for a solution and they're all crap, or crazy prices. In the end I used a few lengths of 2x4 to make an H with the tops shorter than the bottom. The cross member sits tall with the side bars flat. It slots in behind the main tread panel and allows a laptop to sit on the prongs pointing forward with the cross bar pushing against the rear of the panel. Not all treads have the support bar below the panel, so you may need to create a stand of some kind.

    Tips: Running and walking at pace is not going to work. You're bouncing around and typing is a real PITA. If you want to burn calories, put it on a steep incline. Have a hand towel to hand, you'll sweat a lot and you don't want that dribbling onto your laptop. Have a water bottle or two to hand too, you'll need it.

    You'll be able to do 3 hour sessions without really knowing it once you get the hang of movement and keyboard work. I had to forget doing paperwork, or using pen, making notes etc, it simply didn't work for me. But pure coding, if you know what you're doing, is a breeze.

    The hardest part is forcing yourself to do it. It's far easier to slough in a chair behind a couple of huge monitors.

  • by joshier ( 957448 ) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @06:44PM (#33387262)
    That is a good point, however let's be honest - their minds are in a scientifically proven state of meditating [i]when[/i] they are meditating and to me it sounds healthier than multi tasking 10 different things at once. Why, it was only yesterday we had the news of [] Just thought it was quite relevant.
  • by DeadDecoy ( 877617 ) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @06:59PM (#33387414)
    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 []. 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 answered yes/no for sitting on the questionnaire).
  • by joelsanda ( 619660 ) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @07:00PM (#33387424) Homepage
    As George Carlin said, "Eat well, stay fit, and die anyway."
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @07:03PM (#33387456)
    The article doesn't, but the abstract of the actual paper [] 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.
  • Re:Oh fuck off. (Score:5, Informative)

    by MartinSchou ( 1360093 ) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @07:09PM (#33387510)

    Did you even make it past the first paragraph?

    and for how long the research was conducted ? what was the sample size ?

    The article:

    That's the sobering news from a new study that tracked more than 100,000 adults for 14 years. Researchers from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta followed 53,000 men and 70,000 women and asked them to fill out questionnaires about their physical activity.

    So ... yes. Obviously they completely left out the information you were missing. Especially the bit where they're expecting you to, you know, read the fucking article.

    'likely to die'. gee. no relevant cause of death

    The article:

    Unlike most bad news, this one is best heard standing up: people who sit more than 6 hours a day are more likely to die earlier.

    That's the first fucking paragraph of the article. So not only are you an idiot, you're also blind.

  • 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 []

    One approach to avoiding these problems is the treadmill desk. [] 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.

  • Junk Summary (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2010 @07:27PM (#33387658)

    More like a junk summary. The original research article is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (2010) volume 172(4): 419-424. "Leisure Time Spent Sitting In Relation To Total Mortality In A Prospective Cohort of US Adults."

    Note that its leisure time spent sitting, based on answers to the following question "During the past year, on an average day (not counting time spent at your job), how many hours per day did you spend sitting (watching television, reading, etc.)?"

  • It costs $40 to RTFA (Score:2, Informative)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Thursday August 26, 2010 @07:39PM (#33387758) Homepage Journal

    read the fucking article

    From the article []:

    Pay per View - If you would like to purchase short-term access you must have a personal account. Please sign in with your personal user name and password or register to obtain a user name and password for free. You may access this article for 1 day for US$40.00.

    I hope you didn't mean that only people who have paid for access to the article have the privilege of joining the discussion. Did you mean something different? But I will grant that the abstract mentions deaths "during the 14-year follow-up".

  • by queazocotal ( 915608 ) on Friday August 27, 2010 @12:52AM (#33389326)

    The FA is a report of a study.
    The excersize at your desk recommendations are simply the result of a journalist googling for a couple of minutes to pad out the article.

    There is no proof in the study that this would help at all.

    It might for example be an effect due to cranial blood pressure being lower when standing, leading to reduced strokes.

    It might be small clots forming in the legs during prolonged sitting, and this impacting health.

    It might be that the wheel bearings on office chairs emit a really toxic vapour.

    Or even the real effect is lying down for too long, and people that lie longer tend to sit longer.

    Or a combination of all of these factors.

    This sort of statistical study is almost useless taken alone.

    You might reduce this effect with blood pressure drugs, better seat design, changing lubricant, or getting out of bed.

    It seems logical that the excersizes listed would help - but absenting another large study - it's hard to prove.

  • by queazocotal ( 915608 ) on Friday August 27, 2010 @01:01AM (#33389348)

    To quote from the summary of the original article referenced. (alas, I don't have $40 to spare to read the paer)

    "Evidence supports that reducing time spent sitting, regardless of activity, may improve the metabolic consequences of obesity"

    So - the study only addresses obese people.

  • by The Hatchet ( 1766306 ) on Friday August 27, 2010 @01:09AM (#33389364)

    No, you still die. Everybody dies.

  • 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 []

    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" [], 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 [] 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 Aalst ( 943515 ) on Friday August 27, 2010 @04:55AM (#33390086)
    It's annoying that they hide the research behind paywalls, but my institution have forked over money for access.

    The participants were drawn from a mortality study by the ACS begun in 1992. The objective of the 1992 study (184,190 participants) was to investigate the relation between diet and mortality across the population (details in The American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort []) From the section on "Materials and Methods" in the present paper we see that they didn't leave out non-obese people:

    We excluded sequentially from this analysis men and women who reported a personal history of cancer (n = 21,785), heart attack (n = 11,560), stroke (n = 2,513), or emphysema/other lung disease (n = 9,321) at the time of enrollment. We also excluded individuals with missing data on physical activity (n = 4,240), missing sitting time (n = 2,954), missing or extreme (top and bottom 0.1%) values of body mass index (n = 2,121), or missing smoking status (n = 1,347) at baseline. Finally, to reduce the possibility of undiagnosed serious illness at baseline that would preclude or interfere with physical activity, we excluded individuals who reported both no daily life activities and no light housekeeping (n = 4,730), as well as those who died from any cause within the first year of follow-up (n = 403). After exclusions, the analytical cohort consisted of 123,216 individuals (53,440 men and 69,776 women) with a mean age of 63.6 (standard deviation, 6.0) years in men and 61.9 (standard deviation, 6.5) years in women when enrolled in the study in 1992.

    They did record BMIs and what they found was the following:

    We examined the association between time spent sitting and total mortality in men and women combined, stratified by body mass index (Table 3). Although time spent sitting and physical activity were more strongly associated with mortality among lean persons (for time spent sitting, P_interaction = 0.06; for physical activity, P_interaction = 0.002), both measures were significantly associated with risk of total mortality regardless of body mass index.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:04AM (#33390342)

    Actually, that was a quote from Emiliano Zapata. [] Couldn't find a date when he said it, but he did come before James Brown. Just by a small margin though.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"