Gym Benefits Undone by Too Much Sitting

I think that what disturbs me the most about this headline is the notion that the only way we can hope for longevity is through rigorous exercise the majority of our life span. Just because people who are thinner appear to be more active than the obese (which is questionable because it certainly takes more work to transport 280 pounds than it does 147) does not mean that their activity is the cause for the disparity in health. It ignores the possibility that perhaps those people are more active because they’re thin and not fat.

One can also decrease their death risk by not continuing in the things that increase it to begin with, like eating foods which are poisonous for the body. I can eat my diet and remain sedentary and not decrease my health as a result. If I eat a diet high in refined and easily digestible carbohydrates, then I will gain weight and my health will decrease regardless of the amount of exercise. If my diet required me to exercise just to stay within some semblance of health, that would be a sign that perhaps my diet is improper.

Alpa Patel, a researcher at the American Cancer Society (ACS), and his colleagues analyzed survey responses from 123,216 individuals (53,440 men and 69,776 women) who had no history of cancer, heart attack, stroke or emphysema that were enrolled in the ACS’s Cancer Prevention II study in 1992. Participants were followed from 1993 to 2006. The researchers examined the participants’ amount of time spent sitting and physical activity in relation to mortality over the 13-year period.

More leisure time spent sitting was associated with higher risk of mortality, particularly in women.
Women who reported more than six hours per day of sitting (outside of work) were 37 percent more likely to die during the time period studied than those who sat fewer than three hours a day. Men who sat more than six hours a day (also outside of work) were 18 percent more likely to die than those who sat fewer than three hours per day. The association remained virtually unchanged after adjusting for physical activity level. Associations were stronger for cardiovascular disease mortality than for cancer mortality.

When combined with a lack of physical activity, the association was even stronger. Women and men who both sat more and were less physically active were 94 percent and 48 percent more likely to die during the study period, respectively, compared with those who reported sitting the least and being most active.

For his part, the study author wrote:

“Several factors could explain the positive association between time spent sitting and higher all-cause death rates,” Patel said. “Prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin, which are biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.”

These “biomarkers” are also the signs manifested in populations characterized as “Western-Influenced” and the overall term for this is metabolic syndrome, a collection of diseases that all appear to have a common cause and common treatment. History has shown us that those populations that decrease the amount of carbohydrates consumes, improve their overall health with regard to metabolic syndrome and all chronic illness. As a matter of fact, those populations that did not consume carbohydrates at all, did not manifest any metabolic syndrome. One may argue that there were some populations who ate a diet high in carbohydrates who also were healthy, and I would agree with you. However, that does not change my original supposition. The appearance of carbohydrates in cultures that previously consumed none was met with an outbreak of metabolic syndrome usually within the first or second generation.