Sitting for long periods of time has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and early death, but a new study suggests that not all types of sitting are equally unhealthy. Dr. Ken Cheung, interim chair and professor of biostatistics, and a co-author on the paper, found that leisure-time sitting (while watching TV — but not sitting at work) — was associated with a greater risk of heart disease and death among the study’s more than 3,500 participants. The study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association also showed that moderate-to-vigorous exercise may reduce or eliminate the harmful effects of sedentary television watching.
According to the researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, how you spend your time outside of work may matter more when it comes to heart health. Even if you have a job that requires you to sit for long periods of time, replacing the time you spend sitting at home with strenuous exercise could reduce your risk of heart disease and death.
The participants who had logged the most TV-viewing hours (4 or more hours a day) had a 50 percent greater risk of cardiovascular events and death compared to those who watched the least amount of TV (less than 2 hours a day).
The new study followed 3,592 people, all African Americans, living in Jackson, Mississippi, for almost 8.5 years. The participants reported how much time they typically spent sitting while watching TV and during work. They also reported how much time they spent exercising in their down time.
The researchers suspect that the study’s findings may be applicable to anyone who is sedentary, even though the study focused on African Americans.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on July 05