A new federal research study from investigators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found one in four American adults sit for more than eight hours a day and are physically inactive.
For the purpose of the study, the research team analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which collects health information on a representative sample of adults over 18 years old.
Around 6,000 participants reported the number of hours a day they spent sitting while at work, home and during their commutes. They also reported information on how many hours they spent doing moderate to vigorous physical activity each week.
Notably, 25 percent of the participants said they spent more than eight hours a day sitting and 44 percent reported that they did no moderate to vigorous physical activity each week. About 11 percent said they sat for more than eight hours a day and also did some physical activity. Only 3 percent said they sat for less than four hours a day and were active, reported CNN.
According to the survey results, sitting for more than eight hours per day combined with too little activity increased with age. According to previous health studies, no matter how much one exercise, sitting for excessively long periods of time is a risk factor for early death from any cause. In fact, sitting has been called the new smoking when it comes to the number of health problems it can trigger. It can lead to weight gain and poor blood circulation in the body, which are high-risk factors for heart disease.
“Both high sedentary behavior and physical inactivity have negative health effects,” the study authors said. “And evidence suggests that the risk of premature mortality is particularly elevated when they occur together.”
Emily Ussery, the lead author of the new study, suggested people who sit a lot at work lot should try incorporating more physical activity during the week to offset that sitting time.
The study has been published in the medical journal JAMA.