The effects of sitting for more than 6 hours a day are both deadly and expensive



A Due to lack of physical activity, nearly 1.4 billion people worldwide are at risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease. As if the health risks themselves were not enough to illustrate the costs associated with sitting idly by, a team of scientists in England has quantified both the astronomical costs for health and the financial costs of a sedentary life.

Long-term sedentary behavior is defined as sitting – whether in front of an office or in front of the television – for at least six hours a day. For most people who work a typical day's work in an office, their time is probably too low, and even that time spent at the office seems to entail high costs.

Léonie Heron, a doctoral candidate at Queens University Belfast, author of this work, shows in her article that prolonged sedentary behavior cost the UK about £ 762 million between 2016 and 2017 and was associated with 69,279 deaths in the UK in 2016. The paper was published on Monday in the journal Epidemiology and community health.

"I hope the public will be more aware of the impact of their own behavior on their health, which will cost money to health services," said Heron. Reverse.

sitting man
Sitting for at least six hours a day results in high financial costs

Why sit so badly?

Heron analyzed the results of six longitudinal studies each identifying a link between sedentary activity and one of the following conditions: cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, all-cause mortality (even the cost of death) , colon cancer, lung cancer and endometrium (uterine cancer.

It relied on longitudinal studies because the UK's national health system does not record deaths or expenses related to sitting all day. The results of his study suggest that this should be the case.

while walking
Sitting down can be expensive, but offsetting its effects does not require a considerable amount of exercise.

She estimates that sedentary behavior is responsible for 16.9% of cases of type 2 diabetes, 4.9% of cardiovascular disease cases and 11.6% of deaths due to all-cause mortality. confused in the United Kingdom. This may also account for 7.5% of lung cancers, 9% of colon cancers and 8% of endometrial cancers, she writes.

What costs the UK millions of pounds a year, is trying to treat patients with all these diseases. The high number of deaths is due to the failure of these treatments.

The situation may seem bleak, but Heron says even a modest reduction in sedentary activity could have significant effects on the population.

If only 10% of people could sit less than six hours a day, then 4,802 lives could have been saved in 2016, she said. If 30% of people completed this task, 12,006 people could have been saved. And if 50% of the country managed to do it, then 24,012 people might not be dead.

How can we avoid sitting down?

It is very difficult to significantly reduce the number of sedentary people in the population. As Heron notes, it is "probably unrealistic". At present, 29% of British men and women have been sedentary for at least six hours a day in 2016. This is an essential part of office work, but there are still ways to mitigate the risks. .

However, moving from sedentary behavior to light physical activity has considerable health benefits. "

Heron's suggestion is to incorporate small amounts of exercise into the day, without becoming a top-notch organizer. She recommends going for a walk at lunch time or staying up during a coffee break instead of sitting down. The idea is just to push the needle from "no movement at all" to "even just a small amount of movement".

"If you're up or moving while spending more energy, you're more sedentary," says Heron. "The guidelines generally aim to achieve more moderate to vigorous physical activity, but the shift from sedentary behavior to light physical activity has significant health benefits."

She is not the only person to emphasize the effects of even small movements. For example, some research has shown that walking, dancing or gardening for as little as 10 minutes a day are associated with a risk of death reduced by 18%.

As expensive and lethal as the foundations are, the remedies seem simple: everything is always better than doing nothing. To break a little seated monotony can go very far.

>Partial summary:

The methods: National Health Service (NHS) costs associated with prolonged sedentary behavior (≥6 hours / day) were estimated over a one – year period in 2016-17. We calculated a population attributable fraction (FAP) for five health outcomes (type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease). [CVD], colon cancer, endometrial cancer and lung cancer). Adjustments were made to account for possible double counting due to comorbidities. We also calculated avoidable deaths due to prolonged sedentary behavior using APF for all-cause mortality.

Results: Total NHS costs attributable to prolonged sedentary behavior in the UK in 2016-17 amounted to £ 0.8 billion, including £ 19 million) and endometrial cancer (£ 7 million). ). After adjustment for potential double counting, the estimated total was £ 0.7 billion. If prolonged sedentary behavior was eliminated, 48,024 deaths in the United Kingdom could have been avoided in 2016.

conclusions: In this conservative estimate of the direct costs of health care, prolonged sedentary behavior represents a considerable burden for the NHS in the UK. Policymakers can use this estimate to prioritize health care resources and invest in preventive public health programs.


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