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Sitting down ‘killing 70,000 Brits a year’

Study highlights importance of workers taking regular breaks

Inactivity is killing nearly 70,000 people in the UK every year, a study has found.

Around 30% of British adults spend at least six hours a day seated during the week – a figure which goes up to 37% at the weekends.

Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast calculated the NHS is spending £762m a year dealing with the consequences of people lounging around.

They said people who spend the much of their day sitting in one place have an 88% increased risk of type 2 diabetes, a 14% increased risk of heart disease and a 25% increased risk of an early death.

The risks of lung cancer go up by 27%, bowel cancer by 30% and womb cancer by 28%.

Overall, one in nine of all deaths seen in the UK every year – 69,276 in 2016/17 alone – are linked to sedentary behaviour, according to the study reported by the Daily Mail.

Study leader Leonie Heron, from the Centre of Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast, said the research highlights the pressing need to address this issue to both reduce the financial cost and improve population health.

“Our research showed that sedentary behaviour contributed to almost 70,000 lives lost in 2016.

This could have been avoided if sedentary behaviour was eliminated in the UK,” Heron added. 

Dr Mike Brannan, national lead for physical activity at Public Health England, said there are many situations in life where sitting is inevitable, so it is important to take regular breaks by standing or moving around.