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Effects of prolonged periods of sitting on general health

Heron L, O’Neill C, McAneney H, et al. Direct healthcare costs of sedentary behaviour in the UK. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2019 Mar 25. pii: jech-2018-211758.

A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health highlighted the effects of prolonged periods of sitting on individuals’ general health. The study reported that total NHS costs attributable to prolonged sedentary behaviour in the UK in 2016-2017 were £0.7 billion after adjustment for double counting of studies. This figure included expenditure on cardiovascular disease (£424 million), type 2 diabetes (£281 million), colon cancer (£30 million), lung cancer (£19 million) and endometrial cancer (£7 million).

National guidelines recommend limiting sedentary behaviour as much as possible but do not give quantify what this means. General advice given to the population is to try to reduce prolonged sitting time as much as possible, and increase levels of exercise to try to mitigate the risks prolonged sitting can cause. More information about this paper can be found at