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Americans Spend Too Much Time Sitting Down, Says CDC

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Most Americans spend more than eight hours a day sitting down, according to an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Moreover, four in 10 adults do not get either vigorous or moderate amount of exercise each week.

The Problem Of A Sedentary Lifestyle

Public health officials recommend that adults avoid inactivity. To reap substantial health benefits, a person should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

Spending extended time sitting down can cause a number of health concerns including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high levels of cholesterol, and excess body fat especially around the waist. A sedentary lifestyle can also increase a person's risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Americans Sit Too Much

However, many are still strapped to their chairs at work, at home, and during their daily commutes. The CDC analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which collected information on the lifestyle of a representative sample of adults over 18 years old.

Nearly 6,000 people were involved in the study. About 25 percent admitted that they spend more than eight hours a day sitting and 44 percent said they do not do vigorous or moderate exercise a week.

Only 11 percent of those surveyed said that they sat more than eight a hours a day, but offsets the inactivity with regular vigorous exercise. About 3 percent are seated down for less than four hours a day and also have an active lifestyle.

"Both high sedentary behavior and physical inactivity have negative health effects," the authors wrote. "And evidence suggests that the risk of premature mortality is particularly elevated when they occur together."

The findings, which were published in the journal JAMA, adds to the evidence that sitting down is prevalent in an average adult's daily life. Another study in 2017 warned that sitting down for excessively long periods of time can lead to early death.

The study authors have recommended that people with desk jobs build a habit of standing up and moving for five minutes every consecutive 30 minutes of sitting down to offset its negative side effects.

Emily Ussery, an epidemiologist in the division of nutrition, physical activity, and obesity at the CDC, agrees. "Every little bit of exercise helps," Ussery added.

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