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Sitting Too Long can Increase Cancer Risk, Study Finds

Update Date: Jun 17, 2014 11:11 AM EDT

A sedentary lifestyle can be detrimental for one's health. Several studies have found that inactive people have a greater risk of developing certain health complications, such as obesity and cardiovascular diseases. In a new study, researchers examined the link between sedentary behaviors, such as watching TV or sitting for a prolonged period of time and cancer risk. They discovered that these habits could be a risk factor in cancer development.

For this study, the researchers reviewed 43 previously conducted studies that collected information on participants' daily habits and their cancer incidence. The team had access to a total of 68,936 cancer cases. The team was able to conclude that people who led sedentary lifestyles had up to a 66 percent increased risk of getting cancer. Overall sedentary behaviors were tied to a 24 percent increased risk of colon cancer, a 32 percent increased risk of endometrial cancer and a 21 percent increased risk of lung cancer.

The researchers also examined the effects of certain behaviors and reported that watching TV was tied to a 54 percent greater risk of developing colon cancer and a 66 percent higher risk of getting endometrial cancer. For sitting, they calculated that for every two additional hours spent sitting, colon cancer and endometrial cancer risks increased by eight and 10 percent respectively. The researchers added that this relationship between sedentary habits and risks of certain cancers remained strong even after they accounted for physical activity.

"Cutting down on TV viewing and sedentary time is just as important as becoming more active," said study author Daniela Schmid, an epidemiologist at the University of Regensburg in Germany according to WebMD. "For those whose jobs require them to sit at a desk most of the day, we recommend breaking up the time spent sitting by incorporating short bouts of light activity into the daily routine."

The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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