Prolonged sitting estimated to kill 70,000 in the UK a year

You’ve heard it before, but here’s more evidence that sitting and other sedentary behavior is not only bad for you, but it’s deadly.

Excessive sitting has been linked to approximately 70,000 deaths annually in the UK (specifically in 2016, the time period measured), and the National Health Service spends more than  £0.7 billion pounds per year treating the health consequences of all that sitting, according to new research from Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Previous studies have linked spending major parts of the day sitting to excess body fat, increased cancer risk, doubled risk of Type 2 Diabetes, higher mortality rates, as well as higher rates of cardiovascular disease.

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A financial calculation of the burden of sitting’s health effects on the NHS has never been done before, so the study undertook the task. The costs associated with sedentary behavior were estimated over a one-year period in 2016-17, taking into account five health outcomes (Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, endometrial cancer, and lung cancer). The data used for sedentary behavior was from the 2012 Health Survey for England found that 30% of adults are sedentary for at least six hours per weekday, and 37% on the weekends.

Using those estimations, if prolonged sedentary behavior had been eliminated during that time period, 69,276 UK deaths would have been avoided.