Students and office workers who spend hours and hours sitting at a desk or before a desktop may want to start incorporating a few walk and stretch breaks as new research reveals sitting for most of the day brings on a potential higher risk of specific cancers.
The research report, published this week in Journal of the National Cancer Institute, focused on 43 studies that investigated the act of sitting and 70,000 cases of cancer.
"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. "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," Schmid noted.
The researchers report sitting for long periods can lead to an increased risk for endometrial and colon related cancers. In fact those who sit most of the day have a 24 percent increased risk for colon cancer as opposed to those whose daily lifestyle is much more active.
And if you're spending most of that sitting time watching the television that statistic jumps to 54 percent. That's because television viewer tends to snack while watching programming which can bring on weight gain.
The research team reported a 32 percent increase risk for uterine cancer for women, and a 66 percent increased risk if they're sitting and watching television. There is an 8 percent increased risk of colon cancer, and a 10 percent increased risk of endometrial cancer for every two-hours of sitting, notes the report.
"Cutting down on TV viewing and sedentary time is just as important as becoming more active," said Schmid. "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," she added.
Several past research efforts have tied higher risk for endometrial cancer to weight and obesity. Those who sit for long periods every day tend to gain weight and have a higher risk for high blood sugar. All those factors can play into a higher risk of cancer, says the research team.
The study did not find any correlation between sitting for long periods and a higher risk for breast, rectum, ovary and prostate cancers or for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
"Does sitting in front of the TV cause colon cancer? No," said Dr. Martin Heslin, chief of surgical oncology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who was not part of the study effort. "But the recommendations (of the study) are awesome."
The researchers and other medical experts advise those who have sedentary work environments to get active.