Queen’s University researchers have claimed that prolonged sitting is just as dangerous to your health as smoking.
It is now believed that sitting for long periods of time is linked to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and even early death, and could be just as big a threat to public health, if not more so, than smoking.
The Queen’s researchers are part of a European consortium which has received a €4.5 million European Commission grant to help develop innovative ways to tackle sedentary behaviour and increase physical activity in older people.
Working with researchers in Spain, Denmark, Germany, France and Scotland, the four-year study will see the Queen’s team develop new ways of helping adults over 65 years of age to sit less and become more active.
Dr Mark Tully, from the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health at Queen’s University, is leading the project in Northern Ireland.
Dr Tully noted that “levels of sedentary behaviour increase as we age, which poses a significant threat to the health of our population, especially as Northern Ireland is set to face the largest increase in the number of older adults, than other UK countries.”
Dr Tully went on to claim that one of the biggest threats to health is the amount of time spent sitting. On average people spend up to 80 per cent of their waking day sitting down.
The aim of the study is to identify effective methods so that people will be empowered to make positive lifestyle changes to improve their health and wellbeing.