Did you know that the health impact of sitting at a desk job for eight hours a day is as deleterious as smoking cigarettes or being obese? That's according to a Lancet study Rick and I discuss on PodMed this week, but there is good news: you can offset your desk jockey occupation by exercising moderately 60-90 minutes five days per week. Enough said! Get out there and exercise. But first let's take a look at the data.
This study was a meta-analysis including over 1 million people for whom sitting time and mortality statistics were available. People were divided into four groups based on their physical activity and sitting time, with the reference group sitting less than 4 hours per day and reporting the most activity. Compared with this group, those who were the least physically active experienced mortality rates 12-59% higher than those in the reference group. By contrast, those who were physically active but also sat for prolonged periods had no increase in mortality rates. The authors conclude that physical activity was protective against the effect of prolonged sitting.
Rick and I both speculate on the ramifications of this study, wondering if it helps further inform an appropriate daily dose of exercise, something many professional societies have been circling around for years. Clearly this study suggests it's more exercise than has often been cited. We also wonder if prolonged exercise one day a week, such as Rick's cycling behavior, counts against the daily totals or if more or less daily exercise is needed. No doubt more research coming, but for now, we agree, almost everyone needs to move more and sit less.
Other topics this week include two others from the Lancet on depression and behavioral activation therapy, and the global economic burden of inactivity, and in JAMA, the USPSTF's recommendations on skin cancer screening. Until next week, y'all live well.