woman sitting looking up

Sitting Disease—Are You at Risk?

From the CWM Archive. 

Have you ever thought sitting could be stressful? Most people don’t. As a society, we simply sit and do what’s necessary. However, now there is research that shows your life can be cut short because of it.

Sitting is More Dangerous then Smoking

Sitting for prolonged periods of time is not good for your body or longevity. The National Institute of Health (NIH) funded a study of 8,000 adults, and researchers found a direct relationship between time spent sitting and risk of early mortality by any cause. As total sitting time increases, so does your risk of an early death.

According to James Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, "Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death. The chair is out to kill us."

“The chair is out to kill us."


Medical experts have started to refer to long period of inactivity and its negative consequences as, “Sitting Disease.” It is deadly because we aren’t moving. Complications include back pain, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

What You Can Do

There was positive news from the NIH study: people who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death. If you have a job or lifestyle where you have to sit for more than 30 minutes at a time, the best way to combat the impact is to take a movement break every half hour.Get up, stretch for 10 minutes, or go for a walk.

A little bit of movement every 30 minutes interspersed with bouts of sitting for work or entertainment will increase longevity and quality of life.



From the CWM Archive. Originally published on May 21, 2019. 


Hamilton, M. T., Hamilton, D. G., & Zderic, T. W. (2007, November). Role of low energy expenditure and sitting in obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Retrieved May 21, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17827399/

Hamilton, M. T., Healy, G. N., Dunstan, D. W., Zderic, T. W., & Owen, N. (2008, July). Too Little Exercise and Too Much Sitting: Inactivity Physiology and the Need for New Recommendations on Sedentary Behavior. Retrieved May 21, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22905272/

Crawford, C. (2015, January 27). Prolonged Sitting Linked to Serious Health Risks, Death. Retrieved May 21, 2019, from https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20150127sitting.html


Information presented by W(h)ealth should not be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Consult a doctor and/or medical professional before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition.

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