For a lot of us desk jockies we know that we’re probably not getting outside enough as it is. But a new study about one of our common workday habits that we can’t do anything about is going to make us feel a lot worse, sorry.
A new study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has used data from 2002 to 2011 across 54 countries to find proportion of deaths attributable to the ‘chair effect’. They also looked into how much we’d need to move to give us a substantial protection against malevolent chairs.
Regardless of whether or not we exercise excessive sitting accounts for 3.8% of total worldwide deaths (approximately 433,000 deaths/year). 60% of us spend to much time sitting, and it’s time to change that! There have already been inroads made due to data like this that has seen an increasing rise in things such as standing desks.
If we decreased our average time of sitting by 50%, or two hours, would lower mortality by 3.8% (or three times less). However good luck telling your employer you’re going to sit down 50% less. But even a marginal change in habit, even half an hour can have an immediate effect on mortality (0.6%). It doesn’t sound like much, but it can help!
Cutting down on the amount of time we sit could increase life expectancy by 0.20 years in the countries analysed.
“It is important to minimise sedentary behaviour in order to prevent premature deaths around the world,” Leandro Rezende, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), tells SINC. “Cutting down on the amount of time we sit could increase life expectancy by 0.20 years in the countries analysed.”
Our very own NZ among other Western Pacific countries is at the highest risk due to the chair effect. Although with that said the highest rates were specificely found in Lebanon (11.6%), the Netherlands (7.6%) and Denmark (6.9%), while the lowest rates were in Mexico (0.6%), Myanmar (1.3%) and Bhutan (1.6%).
Maybe it’s time to get on that standing desk bandwagon. Or perhaps not sit around a boardroom table at the morning meetings.