Harvard Health Letter

Move more and sit less, urges the American Heart Association

News Briefs

Watch out how much time you spend sitting, lounging, or riding in a car. We're all doing too much of it, and that sedentary behavior may be putting people at risk for chronic disease and early death, suggests a panel of American Heart Association scientists who published a scientific advisory online in Circulation Aug. 15, 2016.

The panel reviewed more than 100 studies and found that people 60 or older in the United States are sedentary as much as nine hours per day. The panel also concluded that the evidence to date doesn't prove but does suggest that sedentary behavior may contribute to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and even early death. But don't assume that merely exercising will reverse the effects of sitting. The panel found that even physically active people who spend a lot of their time being sedentary appear to have an increased risk of poor health. Scientists say we need more research to find out how much and what kind of activity it takes to counteract sitting time. Until then, they urge everyone to be physically active throughout the day, and to continue to strive for the current recommendation of a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week.