The European Congress on Obesity met earlier this month and another research study that reviews the relationship between sitting time (at work only) with the risk of death from any cause and from causes related to cardiovascular or metabolic diseases was presented.

{Metabolic disease refers to inflammation markers such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and abnormal blood sugars.  Cardio refers to the heart and vascular refers to the circulatory system (blood, arteries, etc).  Someone who dies from these conditions could have a heart attack or stroke, for example.}

In this type of study, researchers ask people some personal questions (hopefully they tell the truth!  Some studies include lab work and in person weighing) and then years later (in this case it was 12-14 years)  the researchers review the deaths that occurred in their sample.  They will go back to those original answers and see what is different and what is the same about those who did and did not die.  The researchers will analyze the data and then say things such as, "more likely" or "greater odds" of death in relation to something - in this case, sitting time at work.  This is not an experiment so we cannot say that sitting causes anything.  The participants involved here were from Norway so the results may not apply to other countries.

The results (for this group) show that as weight goes up so does the rate of death.  When sitting time goes up (4 or more hours), so does the rate of death.  They are both positively associated with dying when compared to people who either weigh less OR with people who sit less.  When the researchers looked at effects of sitting time (at work) in weight groups - they saw something a little different. Normal weight persons, about 40% of the sample, had the same rate of death whether they sat at work or not.  Overweight people compared to other overweight people had more deaths if they did not have a job that involved walking or physical labor.  The same finding was true for obese persons.  Sedentary-at-work obese people were 27% more likely to die during the study than obese people who did walk on their jobs.  The differences were even higher when looking only at heart and metabolic disease deaths.

These findings held true regardless of gender or time spent exercising. 

I read a great review of the study written by Daniel Keller, PhD but I did not read the actual study.  The lead researcher was Anne Grunseit Phd, from Australia.

The lead author and other experts said that its important for people to get up during the day and that standing during meetings was not a bad idea!