Being sedentary for long uninterrupted periods throughout the day increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, a federally funded study of older women, published in Circulation in February 2019, has confirmed.
The study involved 5,638 women, ages 63 to 97, who initially wore devices that measured their movement, along with the duration of individual bouts of sedentary time, for a week. The researchers found that over the next three to five years, both the total amount of daily sedentary time and longer uninterrupted bouts of it were associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (notably heart attacks and strokes). The risk was lower when sedentary time was interrupted by physical activity.
The association held up regardless of the women’s overall health, fitness, diet, weight, and other cardiovascular risk factors, as well as whether they engaged in moderate or vigorous exercise. Other studies have produced similar findings—for men and women.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.