A study conducted by an international team of researchers revealed the frightening dangers of sitting for long hours. The study, which involved more than 100,000 people in 21 countries, indicated that people in poorer parts of the world suffer worse effects from long days sitting in one place.
While prolonged periods of sitting were associated with an increased risk of death and cardiovascular disease in all the populations examined in the study, the relationship was more pronounced in low-income countries, such as Bangladesh, India and Zimbabwe, reports a local Arabic daily.
The study warned that sitting from 6 to 8 hours a day, whether it’s at work, in the car or in front of the TV at night before going to bed, carries a relative risk of heart disease and early death by about 12 to 13 percent, compared to people who sit less at 4 hours a day.
In the case of sitting for 16 continuous hours or more, the relative risks fluctuate to a staggering 20 percent, according to the study published in the scientific journal ‘Gamma Cardiology’.
When the data is broken down into different economic categories, sitting for more than 8 hours a day in low- and lower-middle-income countries could lead to a jump in deaths and heart disease by just under 30 percent.
On the other hand, the new international study shows how widespread the problem of low physical activity is behind prolonged sitting, but the most serious impact is the role that poverty plays in determining the final impact of each additional hour of sitting on the body.
While not all types of sitting are alike, the study authors found evidence to support claims that physical exercise has a strong mitigating effect on mortality and the prevalence of cardiovascular disease.
Surprisingly, the study authors found that sitting and being inactive accounted for a slightly lower percentage of deaths than caused by smoking.