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Couch Potatoes 1 - 0 Health Lobby | Blog | County Pathology Ltd

Couch Potatoes 1 - 0 Health Lobby

Couch Potatoe

Apparently no one did the research to prove that sitting was bad for you and now research at Exeter University has shown that being a couch potato is not bad for you.
Sitting per se, whether during leisure time, watching TV, or at work, irrespective of physical activity, is not associated with risk of death, shows a new study of 5000 participants published online October 9 in the International Journal of Epidemiology by Richard Pulsford, PhD, from sport and health sciences at the University of Exeter, United Kingdom, and colleagues.

The study tested the hypothesis that sitting time would predict all-cause mortality risk independently of moderate to vigorous physical activity and associations would vary by type of sitting.

Prior research has suggested that spending extended periods of time sitting down, either at work or during leisure time, is detrimental and contributes to mortality risk regardless of how much physical activity an individual undertakes, explained Dr Pulsford. Sitting has even been dubbed "the new smoking."

In the new study, which ran for 16 years — one of the longest follow-ups in this area of research — 450 deaths were recorded, but no evident associations between any of the indicators of sitting and mortality were found.

Dr Pulsford and colleagues say their results suggest that "policy makers and clinicians should be cautious about placing emphasis on sitting behavior as a risk factor for mortality that is distinct from the effect of physical activity."

"If, as suggested by our data, sitting itself does not represent a risk for early mortality, then perhaps our focus should continue to be to encourage people to be physically active, as only a minority of people are active enough to promote good health," they add.

Moreover, "the results cast doubt on the benefits of sit-stand workstations, which employers are increasingly providing to promote healthy working environments," said senior author Dr Melvyn Hillsdon, also from the University of Exeter, in a statement.