According to the Wall Street Journal, researchers in Louisiana studied data of "sedentary behavior" and health from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They concluded that sitting for just three hours a day can decrease life expectancy by two years, regardless of physical activity and other habits. Watching two hours or more of TV daily can further decrease life expectancy by another 1.4 years.
These findings echo results from other recent studies in Australia and Finland, which also point to the serious hazards of prolonged sitting. According to these studies, long periods of sitting - even when combined with daily physical activity - is connected to risks of cancer, heart conditions, and diabetes and other glucose management issues.
These studies are significant for office workers, who spend an average of eight hours a day - and as many as 15 hours a day - at a desk in front of their computer (Office-Ergo.com). The Wall Street Journal article says,
Last year, scientists found that people who worked 10 years in sedentary jobs, or jobs that don't require a lot of energy expenditure, had twice the risk of colon cancer and a 44% increased risk of rectal cancer, compared with people who had never worked sedentary jobs.Those of us with desk jobs can help ourselves by standing or moving at least every hour. I guess I'm advocating more trips to the water cooler, employee lounge or restroom. Or at least take more walks to talk face-to-face with someone in your office that you could otherwise email, or stand up while taking that conference call.