Sedentary behavior increases link to diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease and increases risk of cancer.

sedentary risk
A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has determined that physical inactivity is not only a health risk but increases the risk of certain cancer.

Researchers from the Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine, University of Regensburg in Germany, conducted a meta-analysis of 43 observational studies including over 4 million individual and 68,936 cancer cases.

In comparing the highest level of sedentary behavior to the lowest, the researchers found a statistically significantly higher risk for three types of cancer, colon, endometrial, and lung. The risk of type of cancer was correlated with type sedentary behavior. The risk increased with each 2-hour increase in sitting time, 8% for colon cancer, 10% for endometrial cancer, and 6% for lung cancer, although the last was borderline statistically significant.

TV viewing time was significantly associated with colon and endometrial cancer, possibly, as TV watching is often associated with drinking sweetened beverages, and eating junk foods.

Lin Yang and Graham A. Colditz, M.D., Dr.P.H., of the Siteman Cancer Center and Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis MO, commented on the study in an editorial and stated that these results “…support a causal relation between sedentary behavior and both colon and endometrial cancers.”

Another study examined the health impact of electronic media and sedentary behavior on children and found that heavy use of electronic media and sedentary behavior are linked to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and vascular diseases already in 6-8 year-old children. The study was published in International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, a journal in the field of exercise and nutrition.

The highest levels of risk factors were found in children with lowest levels of physical activity and highest levels of electronic media time. Heavy use of electronic media, and especially watching too much TV and videos, increased the levels of risk factors not only in sedentary children, but also in children who are physically active.

This study revealed that the accumulation of risk factors for type 2 diabetes and vascular disease in people who are overweight begins in childhood. The authors stated that this shows an emerging public health risk as risk factors present in childhood significantly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, vascular diseases and premature death in adulthood.

The authors recommend regular exercise and avoiding excessive use of electronic media constitute efficient means of preventing type 2 diabetes and vascular diseases.


Juuso Väistö, Aino-Maija Eloranta, Anna Viitasalo, Tuomo Tompuri, Niina Lintu, Panu Karjalainen, Eeva-Kaarina Lampinen, Jyrki Ågren, David E Laaksonen, Hanna-Maaria Lakka, Virpi Lindi, Timo A Lakka. Physical activity and sedentary behaviour in relation to cardiometabolic risk in children: cross-sectional findings from the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2014; 11 (1): 55 DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-11-55

D. Schmid, M. F. Leitzmann. Television Viewing and Time Spent Sedentary in Relation to Cancer Risk: A Meta-analysis. JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2014; 106 (7): dju098 DOI: 10.1093/jnci/dju098

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