A Surprising Hazard of Sitting All Day

Who would have guessed that a natural posture could be so dangerous to our health?  According to researchers from the University of Regensburg, Germany, a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of certain cancers, including colon, endometrial and lung cancer.

The study, published in JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, comprised an evaluation of 43 observational studies, including over 4 million individuals and 68,936 cancer cases.  The researchers compared the highest levels of sedentary behavior with the lowest and found that the risk for the cancers mentioned above were significantly increased in the groups with the highest levels of sedentary behavior.  The researchers also observed that the risk increased with each 2-hour increase in sitting time: eight percent for colon cancer, 10 percent for endometrial cancer, and six percent for lung cancer, although the study authors qualified the lung cancer result as borderline statistically significant.

Equally alarming, the data indicated that individuals who were physically active but still sat for long periods of time were also at risk. Even active people often have jobs that keep them captive at a desk all day. They may go for a walk or work out at the gym, but if they head home for a few hours of television, their health could still suffer. The authors of the study, Dr. Daniela Schmid and Dr. Michael F. Leitzmann of the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Regensburg, believe that television watching creates a double whammy for colon and endometrial cancer, because the activity is often associated with drinking sugary beverages and eating junk foods.

According to the authors, “limiting the time spent sedentary may play an important role in preventing cancer.”  So, what can you do?  For those who watch television, reducing the amount of time spent on this “inactivity” is a great start.  If you sit at a desk all day, try to find innovative, non-sitting postures for completing your work.  Multiple licensed massage professionals I talk to advise their clients to get up and move around every 30 minutes that they are stuck in a chair.  A little stretching and walking to get the blood flowing can pay dividends over the course each day.

The link between physical inactivity and obesity, cardiovascular disease and certain types of diabetes has been strongly documented over the years. This new research shines a light on the additional damage a sedentary life can cause and warrants a call to action: Don’t just sit there! It’s hazardous to your health!

5 Yoga Poses for Lower Back Pain
6 Strange (But Easy) Ways to Be More Productive

WIN a copy of my new book WEEKEND WONDER DETOX.  Enter a comment below and you will automatically be entered to win WEEKEND WONDER DETOX.  Winners will be announced each week (winners will be notified via Care2 profile). Good luck! (Please note: Contest is open to Care2 members with a U.S. mailing address.)

Take the FREE WEEKEND WONDER DETOX QUIZ.  Check out my new books Weekend Wonder Detox and 60 Seconds to Slim. Subscribe to my free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow my blog on my sites HealthySurvivalist.com and DrMichelleCook.com, and Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.


Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

We're never born to sit

Linda Dal Castello
Linda D3 years ago

since doing yoga everyday I have a lot less problems, do stretch and do it often throughout the day

Naomi Dreyer
Naomi D3 years ago


Christine Jones
Christine J3 years ago

It's a timely reminder because most of us are tied to chairs for far too long than is good for us.

Betty O.
Betty O4 years ago

some of these articles i wonder about. i know people who are always working , barely have time to sit down and have a lot o health problems. my mom never smoked, drank, and was always busy, maybe watched a tv show twice a week, ate healthy and died of brain cancer at a very young age. sorry if i don't agree with all of this. my brother worked on a farm for many years, and passed a way young. So i don't always believe all these articles ,mostly it's just something else to add more stress to an already stressed world. sorry just my thoughts.

Teresa W.
Teresa W4 years ago


Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen4 years ago

Thank you

Olivia Dawson
Olivia Dawson4 years ago

it does seem unfair that even people who exercise don't escape.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe4 years ago

I worked a job that I was on my feet 8 hours a day for 30 years!
Then, I took a job where I sat at a desk for 8 hours a day for 5 years!

I don't have cancer, but I do have a heart problem, a back problem, and neuropathy in my feet and legs!

Mary Cromley
.4 years ago

Thank you for the interesting article. Now I have one more thing to worry about.