Department of Health & Human Services
Premiers Active April

The dangers of sitting

Heart Foundation research has found that prolonged sitting can be harmful to your long-term health. We’re proud to highlight their important work.

Sitting less is more important than exercise, study says

Reproduced with permission. © 2014 National Heart Foundation of Australia

Sitting less could be more important than vigorous activity when it comes to preventing type 2 diabetes, research published today in Diabetologia claims.

The National Heart Foundation of Australia says it confirms the importance of moving throughout the day.

The findings come just weeks after a larger Australian study revealed men who spend more than four hours a day sitting are significantly more likely to develop chronic diseases like heart disease than those who sit for less time, regardless of other activity levels.

“Being active and sitting less are both important ways to reduce your risk of heart disease, the number one killer of Australian men and women,” said Dr Robert Grenfell, National Cardiovascular Health Director at the Heart Foundation.

“We encourage all Australians to be active for 30 minutes a day – and congratulate those who are – but what we do in the other 23½ hours is still vital.

“If you drive to work, have a desk job and watch TV at night, your sitting time quickly adds up and we know that too much sitting can increase your risk of heart disease by as much as 50%,” he said.


Heart Foundation tips to reduce your sitting time at work include:

  • Walk to a colleague’s desk instead of phoning or emailing
  • Stand up when making or answering phone calls
  • Have standing or walking meetings
  • Stand at the back of the room during presentations

Some workplaces, including the Heart Foundation, have also started providing adjustable sit/stand desks and wellness programs to help employees reduce their sitting time.

“It only takes small changes in your routine to reduce the amount of time you sit each day and improve your heart health,” Dr Grenfell said.

The Diabetologia study, which involved 153 people, was led by a team from the University of Leicester with researchers examining how sitting time, breaks in sitting time, moderate to vigorous activity and total activity independently affected the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes among high risk groups.

The Australian study, led by Emma George from the University of Western Sydney, involved more than 63,000 men drawn from the 45 and Up Study.

For more information please contact: Kerry Kalcher, Media & Communications Manager, 0401 672 128 / (02) 9219 2433

Reproduced with permission. © 2014 National Heart Foundation of Australia
View the original article on the Heart Foundation website

 Further Information

You can download the article referred to above in Diabetologia.

For more details about ways to decrease time spent sitting at work you can read the Heart Foundation’s Stand@Work Study.

Reproduced with permission from The Stand@Work Study. © 2014 National Heart Foundation of Australia

Last updated: November 29, 2016 at: 5:25 pm

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