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Prolonged Sitting and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality

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Prolonged sitting behaviors are a distinct subset of sedentary behaviors. They include television viewing, computer and video use, sitting in automobiles, and workplace sitting. I reviewed scientific literature from 2005 to 2010 to assess the effects of prolonged sitting on cardiovascular disease mortality and risk factors. I conclude that prolonged sitting is positively associated with cardiovascular disease risk factors and increases in mortality risk, independent of physical activity. The weakness of the current literature is an over-reliance on self-reports of prolonged sitting. Also, a better understanding is needed of the unique biomarkers and metabolic alterations related to prolonged sitting, as well as whether sitting displaces light-intensity physical activity. Overall, the findings support previous recommendations to consider guidelines and strategies to reduce and interrupt prolonged sitting.

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This article was supported in part by a National Institutes of Health grant, number R03NR10291. The author gratefully acknowledges Helena M. VonVille, MLS, MPH, an expert health sciences librarian, who conducted a comprehensive literature search for this review, and Karen L. Pepkin, MA, who provided substantive guidance on revisions and assisted in preparation of the manuscript. Also, the author is indebted to Stephen Palmer, PhD, ELS, for a critical and comprehensive review of an earlier draft of the paper and thorough editorial assistance.


The author reports no potential conflict of interest relevant to this article.

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Correspondence to Wendell C. Taylor.

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Taylor, W.C. Prolonged Sitting and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality. Curr Cardiovasc Risk Rep 5, 350–357 (2011).

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