Sitting Too Much Linked to Breast and Colon Cancer

November 15, 2011 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Sitting Too Much Linked to Breast and Colon Cancer
Last week researchers presented data at the American Institute for Cancer Research annual conference showing, once again, that sitting too much is deadly. The data shows that 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer could be prevented each year if people did not spend so much time sitting. "This gives us some idea of the cancers we could prevent by getting people to be more active," says epidemiologist Christine Friedenreich of Alberta Health Services in Calgary, Canada. Calculations are based on U.S. physical activity data and cancer incidence statistics. "This is a conservative estimate," she says. "The more physical activity you do, the lower your risk of these cancers…In breast and colon cancers, for example, we're seeing overall risk reductions of about 25 to 30 percent associated with higher levels of physical activity.”

Researchers from Australia's Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute pointed out that you need to get up and move around, even for a minute or two, every hour – to break the adverse spell of sitting too long. In other words, even those who exercise for a ½ hour and then sit for hours at a time are still at increased risk. Neville Owen, who presented evidence at the conference said, “Sitting time is emerging as a strong candidate for being a cancer risk factor in its own right. It seems highly likely that the longer you sit, the higher your risk. This phenomenon isn't dependent on body weight or how much exercise people do.”

There you have it. Sitting too long is just plain bad for you. Our bodies are made to be moved and function best when put to use. Apparently, we were not made to sit.

I find this topic rather interesting and have been reporting on it for several years. In my article Will Sitting Kill You? I explain that spending three-fourths or more of your day sitting compared to standing increases your risk of early death from any cause or from cardiovascular disease from 30 percent to 61 percent.

In another article, Sitting Too Much Really is Deadly, I explain that even physical activity at other times of the day cannot change the fact that if you sit more than six hours per day, you are at a very significant risk for increased early death. Women who reported more than six hours per day of sitting were 37 percent more likely to die, and that risk jumped to 94 percent if also inactive. Men who sat more than 6 hours a day were 18 percent more likely to die, 48 percent if also inactive.
The moral of this story is rather simple: Move more.

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