Sitting too much, sometimes called sitting disease, may increase the risk of disability in people over age 60, a new study suggests.
Adults this age spend an average of two-thirds of their waking time being sedentary — roughly nine hours a day, the research showed.
Every additional hour adults over age 60 spend sitting increases by 50% their risk of being disabled for activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and walking, says the study’s lead author Dorothy Dunlop, a professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Too many people “have very low levels of activity,” she says.
The health problems associated with sitting disease are mounting. Research has linked too much sitting to increased risk of heart failure, type 2 diabetes and death from cancer, heart disease and stroke. It may affect mood and creativity. One study showed that if most people spent fewer than three hours a day sitting, it would add two years to the average life expectancy in this country.
Dunlop and colleagues reviewed data on more than 2,200 people, age 60 and older, who participated in the government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.