Skip to content

B.C. study finds that if you want to live longer, get out of your chair

SFU study advances the argument that prolonged sitting is detrimental to your health
Professor of health sciences at Simon Fraser University, Scott Lear. Photo courtesy SFU

You might want to be sitting down for this one. On second thought, better not.

Spearheaded by Simon Fraser University health sciences professor Scott Lear, a new study in the journal Jama Cardiology has further linked prolonged sitting to health risks including cardiovascular disease.

This has become a rising issue as the healthiness of Canadian diets decreases as obesity rates are increasing, according to an IBISWorld statistic.

The global study, co-authored by Wei Li of Beijing’s Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, polled 105,677 people in 21 countries. Essentially, the study found that people who sit for 6 to 8 hours increased the risk for early death and heart issues by 12 to 13 per cent. Those who sat longer had a higher percentage

The study also showed the correlation was greater in lower-income countries causing some to speculate socio-economic status and better jobs to be direct factors.

Ultimately, researchers found a combination of sitting and inactivity accounted for 8.8 per cent of all deaths, a number not too far from smoking contribution of 10.6 per cent.

For Lear, it’s all about adding more exercise while minimizing prolonged sitting.

“For those sitting more than four hours a day, replacing a half hour of sitting with exercise reduced the risk by two per cent.”

The solution was to educate, as clinicians say the counter to this problem is both life-changing, and low cost. However it wasn’t only on the health experts to get the message out. Individuals have to assess their health and lifestyle as well.

“It’s a global problem that has a remarkably simple fix. Scheduling time to get out of that chair is a great start,” Lear said.

RELATED: Too many Canadians suffering from heart failure, report finds

RELATED: Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart