December/January 2015/2016 (vol. 12/4)

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Research Plus

Does excessive sitting increase risk of death?

Sitting time does not increase the risk of mortality independently of time spent doing moderate to vigorous-intensity physical exercise (MVPA), results from the Whitehall II study of London-based civil servants reveals. Participants (5,132 individuals, 72% male) reported their weekly hours of sitting time, giving estimates for the following categories: work sitting (including commuting); sitting while watching television; leisure-time sitting not watching television; total leisure-time sitting; and total sitting time. There were 450 deaths during the 16-year study period (81,373 person-years). None of the sitting categories was associated with all-cause mortality after controlling for personal, lifestyle and employment factors, including MVPA. These results are inconsistent with previous findings linking sitting time to all-cause mortality. Policy-makers should prioritise the need to increase daily physical activity rather than simply advocating less sitting time.


International Journal of Epidemiology, 2015; online first: doi: 10.1093/ije/dyv191.


Occupational Health at Work December/January 2015/2016 (vol. 12/4) pp36