Physicians' Academy for Cardiovascular Education

High daily levels of physical activity can eliminate the harmful effect prolonged sitting

Literature - Ekeland et al., The Lancet 2016 - The Lancet. Published online July 27, 2016. DOI:

Main results


These analyses on data of over 1 million individuals indicate that high levels of physical activity (60-75 min of moderate intensity physical activity per day) appear to eliminate the increased mortality risks associated with prolonged sitting time. Those most active who sat for more than 8 hours daily showed a lower risk of dying during follow-up than those in the least active quartile 9

The effect of TV-viewing on all-cause mortality seemed stronger than that of sitting, and its effect was only attenuated, but not eliminated by high physical activity. One of several plausible explanations may be that TV-viewing typically occurs in the evening (at least for the generation represented in the studies), which may reflect prolonged postprandial sedentary time, which might be particularly harmful for glucose and lipid metabolism. Alternatively sitting time at work may be interrupted more often than sitting while viewing TV, and breaking up sitting time appears beneficial for cardio-metabolic risk factors.


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