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Australians are risking an early death by sitting up to 11 hours per day.

Prolonged sitting is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and early death, said the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in a media release.

“It is thought that excessive sitting slows the body’s metabolism – which affects our ability to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure and metabolise fat – and in the long term may cause weaker muscles and have detrimental effects on our bones,” the institute said.

A recent institute-commissioned survey that found that less than 25 per cent of Australians made an effort to reduce long periods of sitting, despite many sitting for at least 7.5 hours a day and 10 per cent sitting for 11 hours a day.

Although 60 per cent of Australians agreed that sitting is bad for their health, most were unlikely to do anything about it, the survey found.

Many reported they didn’t think about standing up, “while one in seven said they would feel self-conscious in front of their colleagues”, the survey said.

“Nor were people inclined to seek opportunities to stand in their workplace. Less than 40 per cent wanted greater support from their employer to promote standing during their work day.”

“Australians have really got to start making changes, even small, gradual changes to their work day. Our love affair with the chair has got to stop,” said Professor David Dunstan, head of Physical Activity Research at Baker IDI, in a media release.

“The changes don’t have to be costly,” he suggested. “Stand while you talk on the phone, go for a walking meeting, use smart phone prompts to remind you to stand.”

For more details, visit the institute

Published on 18 June 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.


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