A major new study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that Americans sit too much. Sitting for prolonged periods of time, increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. And most Americans in desk jobs are finding this study to be accurate.
According to the study, the research teams analyzed surveys of 51,000 people from 2001 to 2016 to track sitting trends in front of TVs and computers and the total amount of time spent sitting on a daily basis. Unlike other studies that have looked at sedentary behaviors, the research is the first to document sitting in a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population across multiple age groups—from children to the elderly and different racial and ethnic groups.
The summary found that in a almost none of the groups analyzed are the numbers going in the right direction. Most Americans spend at least two hours per day sitting and watching television or videos. Among children ages 5-11, 62 percent spent at least that long in front of screens daily. For adolescents ages 12-19, that number was 59 percent. About 65 percent of adults ages 20 to 64 spent at least two hours watching television per day. And most recently, 84 percent of adults over age 65 spent at least that much time sitting watching television.
Desk jobs sitting at school were large factors as well. The decline of movement and sitting computer screen time outside of work and school increased. At least half of individuals across all age groups used a computer during leisure time for more than one hour per day. And up to a quarter of the U.S. population used computers outside of work and school for three hours or more.
Total daily sitting time increased among adolescents and adults from 2007 to 2016, from seven hours per day to just over eight for teenagers, and from 5.5 hours per day to almost 6.5 for adults, the researchers found.
What does this all mean? We sit too much for our own good. We’re seeing more and more health problems from sitting and staying stagnant. We need to get up and move, be more active, and stand up throughout the day to encourage healthier behavior.