Channel NewsAsia

A lot of sitting is dangerous for elderly, says new research

The odds of being disabled rise for seniors who spend too much time sitting, regardless of how much they exercise, says a new US study.

WASHINGTON: Spending too much time sitting may be particularly dangerous for people over the age of 60, regardless of how much they exercise, says a new US study.

The odds of being disabled doubled for each additional hour of sedentary time in seniors, said the research in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health.

"If there are two 65-year-old women, one sedentary for 12 hours a day and another sedentary for 13 hours a day, the second one is 50 percent more likely to be disabled," said the research team at Northwestern University.

The study was based on a sample of 2,286 adults aged 60 and older from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, with disability being defined as being limited in basic activities such as eating, dressing, bathing, getting in and out of bed and walking across a room.

Because it only observed the participants at one moment in time, the researchers could not conclusively show whether the sedentary behavior actually caused the disability.

Lead researcher Dorothy Dunlop, professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has a long-term study underway to look into cause and effect.

She said she was surprised to see that being sedentary was almost as strongly correlated with disability as was the lack of moderate vigorous activity, such as walking.

"It means older adults need to reduce the amount of time they spend sitting ... regardless of their participation in moderate or vigorous activity," she said.

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna