A team of international experts found that the risk of dying during a follow-up period of two to 18 years was 9.9% for those who sat for eight or more hours a day and engaged in low activity, compared with 6.8% for those who sat for less than four hours a day and were active for at least one hour a day.
But they also found that the increased risk of death associated with sitting for eight hours a day was eliminated for people who did a minimum of one hour of physical activity a day.
At least an hour of physical activity a day may be required to offset the harmful effects of sitting at a desk for eight hours, according to the latest study to highlight the perils of a sedentary lifestyle.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline, adopted by Public Health England, recommends 150 minutes of exercise a week but research, based on data from more than one million people, suggests that is insufficient for many.
PHE said even 10-minute bursts of activity could be beneficial.
Ekelund and his team found that sitting watching TV for over three hours per day was also associated with an increased risk of death during the follow-up period, except among the most active.
The increased risk was slightly greater than that associated with total sitting time, possibly because TV watching may indicate a more unhealthy lifestyle in general, including being less likely to take exercise. People may also snack unhealthily while viewing.
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Source: The Guardian