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Study: Too much sitting raises risk of cancer

If you need motivation to work out, a new study might just give you one. Research published in JAMA Oncology claims too much sitting can raise your risk for cancer.
(WSAW)
Published: Jun. 18, 2020 at 11:32 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - If you need motivation to work out, a new study might just give you one. Research published in JAMA Oncology claims too much sitting can raise your risk for cancer.

"This is the first study that definitively shows a strong association between not moving and cancer death," said lead author Dr. Susan Gilchrist, an associate professor of clinical cancer prevention at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas.

She added that replacing 30 minutes of sitting with either light, moderate or vigorous exercise can lower the risk.

"Our findings reinforce that it's important to 'sit less and move more,'" Gilchrist said in a statement.

CNN reported that the study asked 8,000 people to wear a tracking device during their waking hours for seven days over the time period between 2009 and 2013. None of the participants had cancer at the start of the study.

Researchers said, after a five-year follow up, the most sedentary people had an 82 percent higher risk of dying from cancer compared to those who were less sedentary, even after they adjusted for age, sex and disease status.

People who replaced 30 minutes of sitting with light-intensity activity--such as walking--reduced their risk of cancer by 8 percent, the study said.

"Conversations with my patients always begin with why they don't have time to exercise," said Gilchrist, who leads MD Anderson's Healthy Heart Program. "I tell them to consider standing up for 5 minutes every hour at work or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It might not sound like a lot, but this study tells us even light activity has cancer survival benefits."

The benefits for moderate-intensity activity were even greater, reducing the cancer risk by 31 percent. Examples of moderate activities would include biking, brisk walking, gardening or water aerobics.

“Incorporating 30 minutes of movement into your daily life can help reduce your risk of death from cancer,” Gilchrist said. “Our next step is to investigate how objectively measured sedentary behavior impacts site-specific cancer incidence and if gender and race play a role.”

Copyright 2020 WVLT via CNN. All rights reserved.

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