sitting disease

Sitting Disease: More Deadly Than Smoking or Cancer?

Sitting disease linked to coronary heart calcification.

Scientists have discovered a link between a sedentary lifestyle — so called ‘sitting disease’ — and┬ácoronary heart calcification.

Sitting down for many hours in the day may increase the risk of suffering a heart attack, the new research suggests.

The study is the latest to highlight the dangers of the so-called ‘sitting disease’.

Too much sitting down has also been linked to cancer, diabetes and other illnesses.

Some have even argued that sitting disease is one of the most deadly that we face in an increasingly sedentary culture.

Dr Jacquelyn Kulinski, the study’s lead author, said:

“It’s clear that exercise is important to reduce your cardiovascular risk and improve your fitness level.

But this study suggests that reducing how much you sit every day may represent a more novel, companion strategy (in addition to exercise) to help reduce your cardiovascular risk.”

The conclusions are based on data from over 2,000 adults living in Dallas.


Participants wore accelerometers to measure how much they moved.

Researchers found that for every extra hour each day they spent sitting down there was a 14% increase in coronary heart calcification.

Coronary heart calcification refers to the amount of calcium found in plaques in the heart’s arteries.

This type of calcification is a marker of subclinical heart disease.

Dr Kulinski said:

“I think the study offers a promising message.

Reducing the amount of time you sit by even an hour or two a day could have a significant and positive impact on your future cardiovascular health.”

How to fight sitting disease

On average, the study found people were sedentary for around 5 hours per day, with a range from 2 to 12 hours.

Strangely, though, doing more exercise was not linked to lower levels of coronary heart calcification.

It’s all about less sitting down.

Dr Kulinski said:

“The lesson here is that it’s really important to try to move as much as possible in your daily life; for example, take a walk during lunch, pace while talking on the phone, take the stairs instead of the elevator and use a pedometer to track your daily steps.

And if you do have a very sedentary job, don’t go home at night and sit in front of the TV for hours on end.”

The research was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego.

Lazy man image from Shutterstock