Sedentary behaviour linked to deaths

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Sedentary behaviour linked to deaths

Spending large amounts of time sitting during the day has been linked to almost 70,000 deaths per year in the UK, according to new research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

The research, carried out by Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, also estimates that the NHS spends in excess of £0.7bn per year treating the health consequences of sedentary behaviour.

Figures on sedentary behaviour were taken from the Health Survey for England 2012, which reported that 30 per cent of adults in England spent at least six hours/day sedentary on weekdays, increasing to 37 per cent on weekends. The number of deaths from all causes were combined with these figures to estimate the overall impact sedentary behaviour has at a UK population level.

Researchers say their results suggest that 11.6 per cent of all deaths were associated with sedentary behaviour and that 69,276 deaths might have been avoided in 2016 if sedentary behaviour was eliminated in the UK. 

Previous studies have shown that sedentary behaviour increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and death.

Lead investigator, Leonie Heron from the Centre of Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast, said: “Many individuals in the UK spend their leisure time in sedentary behaviour, and the workplace represents a significant proportion of unavoidable daily sitting time for many people.”

The researchers concluded that measures should be taken to reduce sedentary behaviour with the aim of improving population health and reducing the financial burden to the health service.

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