sitting, watching TV, computer
A study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found a direct link between sedentary behaviour and colon, endometrial and lung cancerbasykes/Flickr

Too much sitting can increase the risk of certain types of cancer, a team of German researchers reveal.

A study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found a direct link between sedentary behaviour and colon, endometrial and lung cancer.

Sedentary behaviour is a term used to refer to any activity performed in a sitting or lying position and that requires very less energy. Time spent in front of the TV and computer, and activities like video game playing, workplace sitting, driving and reading are certain common types of sedentary behaviours.

For the study, researchers from the University of Regensburg in Germany reviewed 43 studies. The data included details about four million people and 68,936 cases of cancer. People who exhibited highest levels of sedentary behaviour had greater risk of all the three types of cancer and the risk for colon (8 percent), endometrial (10 percent) and lung cancer (6 percent) went up with each additional two hour the participants spent sitting. Spending more time in front of TV was associated with colon and endometrial cancer.

The results didn't change even after spending enough time for physical activity. "The results were independent of physical activity, showing that sedentary behavior represents a potential cancer risk factor, distinct from physical inactivity," author of the study Dr. Daniela Schmid, told Live Science in an email.

Apart from these, previous studies have linked sedentary behaviour to a series of health problems including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, sedentary behaviour goes up after the age of 60.

Similar to the current study, in February this year, researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that sedentary lifestyle after the age of 60 increased the risk of disability.

The results reported in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health remained unchanged irrespective of the amount of physical activity they managed to perform.

Following are some tips to remain healthy as provided by the Department of Health, Australia:

  • Avoid lift and take stairs
  • Walk to the store or use a bicycle for short distances
  • Do not depend on TV remote, but try to get up every time you want to change the channel
  • Set up reminders on TV or alarm and opt the automatically switch off mode in the TV to get reminded the need to move around
  • Always walk around while talking on your mobile phone
  • Replace normal books with recorded ones so that you can listen to it while moving around
  • Those who are working can avoid prolonged sitting by keeping the litter bin away from the desk, or by using the speaker phone and walking around while having a conference call