The amount of time an individual sits during the day is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and death, regardless of regular exercise, a recent study says.

In a news release from University Health Network, David Alter, MD, PhD, senior study author, senior scientist, Toronto Rehab, University Health Network (UHN) and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Services, notes, “Our study finds that despite the health-enhancing benefits of physical activity, this alone may not be enough to reduce the risk for disease.”

The release states that the meta-analysis study investigated studies targeting sedentary behavior. Avi Biswas, PhD candidate, Toronto Rehab, UHN and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, served as lead author of the study.

Additionally, the researchers reportedly found that the negative health impact of prolonged sitting is more obvious among individuals who engage in little or no exercise than those who engage in more exercise.

The release says further research is expected to assist in determining what individuals can do, in addition to physical activity, to combat the health risk of sedentary time.

Alter emphasizes, “Avoiding sedentary time and getting regular exercise are both important for improving your health and survival.” Alter adds that individuals should aim to decrease sedentary time by 2 to 3 hours in a 12-hour day.

[Source: University Health Network]