Prolonged Sitting Decreases Life Expectancy, Causes 4% of Deaths Worldwide, Study Shows

Life Expectancy

This recent study may have you rethink how long you sit at your desk to impress your boss at work. A meta-analysis of surveys conducted in 54 countries around the world claims that 4% of deaths worldwide are caused by prolonged periods of sitting down, thus decreasing life expectancy.

The Study

According to researchers at San Jorge University in Zaragoza, Spain, staying seated for excessive amounts of time may increase the risk of death in the future, despite an active lifestyle.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, has calculated the number of deaths related to the “chair effect” in the 54 countries, using data from 2002 to 2011.

The results showed that over 60% of people around the world spend more than three hours a day in a chair —the average for adults being 4.7 hours a day—which is the reason behind the 4% of deaths worldwide.

“It is important to minimize sedentary behavior 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), told Agencia SINC. He also noted that reducing the amount of time spent sitting down could extend life expectancy by 0.20 years in the countries surveyed.

The highest death rates were found in Western Pacific regions, while European nations and those in the Eastern Mediterranean, America and Southeast Asia followed in decreasing order.

What This Means

Despite how much you exercise, prolonged sessions of sitting down or lack of movement may increase your mortality rate. It’s best to try and be active at work as much as possible, even if it means getting up and taking a quick break.