We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Wall-E knew this day would come. Screengrab/
get up

Sitting down for too long is as bad as smoking

Many people spend up to 80% of their waking day sitting down.

PROLONGED SITTING IS as dangerous to a person’s health as smoking, according to researchers at Queen’s University in Belfast.

Sitting for long periods of time has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even early death.

Researchers at the university say it could be as big a threat to public health as smoking, if not more so.

Dr Mark Tully, from the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health at Queen’s University, said people spend, on average, over nine hours (or up to 80% of their waking day) sitting down.

“One of the biggest threats to health is the amount of time spent sitting.

“Public health scientists have recognised the need to develop effective interventions to address the high levels of inactivity across ages, with sitting regarded as ‘the new smoking’,” Tully said.

The Queen’s researchers are part of a European consortium which has received a €4.5 million European Commission grant to help develop innovative ways to tackle sedentary behaviour and increase physical activity in older people.

Working with researchers in Spain, Denmark, Germany, France and Scotland, the four-year study will see the Queen’s team develop new ways of helping adults over 65 years of age to sit less and become more active

They will then test the methods on 1,300 people in four European countries.

Poorer kidney function 

Tully will lead the project in Northern Ireland.

Queen’s researchers have already shown that mothers who sit more during pregnancy are likely to have heavier babies, while men who spend more time sitting at work have poorer kidney function.

“During this study we hope to be able to identify effective methods to help our ageing society make positive lifestyle changes in order to improve their health and wellbeing. This programme will then be available for delivery through the health system in each of the member countries,” Tully stated.

Some suggestions that could be used to help people be more active at work are treadmill and height adjustable desks, which allow users to alternate between standing and sitting.

Read: Vaping is about 95% less harmful than smoking

Read: Scientists have been studying the link between stress and junk food

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.