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Prolonged sitting is considered detrimental to health, and new evidence from Australia sheds light on the role of daily time spent sitting on mortality risk.

Hidde P. van der Ploeg, from the University of Sydney School of Public Health (Australia), and colleagues studied 222,497 Australian adults enrolled in the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study. The team found that adults who sat 11 or more hours per day were at 40 percent increased risk of dying in next three years, as compared to those who sat fewer than four hours a day, accounting for confounding factors. Further, the data reiterated the benefits of physical activity, with inactive people who sat the most at double the risk of dying, and the most physically inactive at one-third higher chance of dying. Observing that: “Prolonged sitting is a risk factor for all-cause mortality, independent of physical activity,” the study authors conclude that: “Public health programs should focus on reducing sitting time in addition to increasing physical activity levels.”


  1. Hidde P. van der Ploeg; Tien Chey; Rosemary J. Korda; Emily Banks; Adrian Bauman. “Sitting Time and All-Cause Mortality Risk in 222,497 Australian Adults.” Arch Intern Med, Mar 2012; 172: 494–500.