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Study: workers need to minimise time spent sitting

29 September 2011 - 1:35pm

In news that many employers may find surprising, a study has revealed that people who sit down for more than four hours a day have a greater overall risk of dying.

The 45 and Up Study is conducted by The Sax Institute in partnership with NSW Health and the Heart Foundation.

Findings of the research released today (September 29) may be of interest to employers whose workforce spend the majority of their time sitting at desks.

Professor Adrian Bauman from the University of Sydney says: "They show that physical activity, while important, is no 'get out of jail free' card.

"Health programs in the future may need to focus specifically on reducing prolonged periods of sitting as well as boosting the amount of exercise people do."

Companies with a predominantly seated workforce may want to manage the risks of an inactive work environment with regular breaks for physical activities and business health plans to assist those whose health is suffering.

The study involves 200,000 men and women from New South Wales and is the largest ongoing health survey in the southern hemisphere.

Researchers have continued to follow many of the participants over the last years, yielding a more accurate picture of their state of health.