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Too Much Sitting and Cardio-Metabolic Risk: An Update of Epidemiological Evidence


Sedentary behavior, as distinct from a lack of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, is an emerging health risk behavior for the development of chronic diseases. Examples of sedentary behavior include sitting, watching television, using a computer, and driving a car. In this article, we define sedentary behavior; outline key concepts related to the physiology of sedentary behavior, review the recent evidence on the effects of prolonged sedentary behavior (or sitting) on the risk of cardio-metabolic disease and all cause mortality, and discuss the implications for current clinical practice. We found that most large scale studies on sedentary behavior were published in the last 5 years. There is moderately consistent evidence for an association between total sitting time and all-cause mortality, even when adjusted for or stratified by leisure time physical activity. Overall, we identified a compelling case for sitting reduction to be included in clinical preventive advice as a key component of ‘active living,’ where adults and children are encouraged to ‘move more and sit less’ across different settings and locations throughout the day.

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Conflict of Interest

Adrian E Bauman declares that she has no conflict of interest. Josephine Y Chau declares that she has no conflict of interest. Ding Ding declares that he has no conflict of interest. Jason Bennie declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Correspondence to Adrian E. Bauman.

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Bauman, A.E., Chau, J.Y., Ding, D. et al. Too Much Sitting and Cardio-Metabolic Risk: An Update of Epidemiological Evidence. Curr Cardiovasc Risk Rep 7, 293–298 (2013).

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  • Sedentary behavior
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Epidemiology