Leisure sitting is linked to a 10 percent higher risk of cancer in women — even after factors such as total physical activity and body mass are taken into account, a new study found. Researchers for the American Cancer Society studied 146,000 people — of which 69,260 were men and 77,462 were women — between 1992 and 2009. During this timeframe 18,555 men and 12,236 women were diagnosed with cancer.
Are you spending too much time sitting?
Researchers concluded that longer leisure time spent sitting was associated with a higher risk of cancer in women – notably with “multiple myeloma [bone marrow cancer], breast cancer, and ovarian cancers.”
Surprisingly, according to lead author Alpa Patel from American Cancer Society, sitting time was not associated with a considerably higher cancer risk in men. Further research is needed to solve this scientific mystery.
Stand up and walk around
Ultimately, the real problem appears to be not how much physical activity you manage to get, but rather you much time you spend sitting. According to researchers, several factors could explain the positive association between time spent sitting and cancer in women. Studies have revealed that prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has important metabolic consequences, which may in turn trigger chronic diseases.
The sitting disease
The sitting disease, or a sedentary lifestyle, is a term used to describe people whom engage in prolonged periods of sitting or overall inactivity. It’s no news that over the past few decades the times we spend sitting has increased due to several factors, ranging from technological advancement to car-driven cultures.
Sitting down all day, however, is not as harmless as one may expect. Now, just stop for a second and think: how many hours do you spend sitting down? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 60 to 85% of the population worldwide does not engage in enough activity.
Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality as it is responsible for 6% of coronary heart disease cases, 7% of type 2 diabetes, 10% of breast cancer in women and 10% of colon cancer cases.
Change your habits
You don’t need to start training for a marathon to change your sedentary habits. Check out the Activity Pyramid Health based on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommendations to explore the innumerable ways you can integrate movement into your schedule, whether at home or in the workplace.
Ultimately to reduce the risk of cancer in women and to boost people’s health, experts argued that public health messages and guidelines should be refined to include reducing time spent sitting in addition to promoting physical activity.
Share with us your ‘healthy lifestyle tips’ in the comments section below.
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