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Sitting for More than 10 Hours a Day Increases Dementia Risk

In a study recently summarized in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers examined the relationship between sitting for long periods of time and the risk for developing dementia.  The study involved nearly 50k people aged 60 and older.

Inactivity has long been associated with increased risk for heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, obesity, and overall reduced life expectancy.  This study establishes a link between inactivity, specifically sitting for long period of time, and dementia.   Daily activity was measured by an activity tracker device.  The amount of time spent in activity vs. sitting or lying down (but not sleeping) was tracked over the course of each day.  The health records of participants were analyzed over the next seven years to identify any diagnoses of dementia.

For the men and women who spent 10 hours per day sitting, the increased risk for dementia was 8%.  As time per day sitting increased for participants, the risk for developing dementia increased significantly.  Those people who spent 12 or more hours per day sitting increased their rate of dementia by an incredible 68%.

A lifestyle that includes sitting at a desk for 8 hours per day, commuting for an hour or two, and then spending time in front of the TV at night, is very unhealthy.

One particularly interesting finding in related research is that exercise may not offset the negative impact of sitting.    It implies that the act of sitting for 10-12 hours per day increases the risk for dementia independent of other factors.  However, the study did not definitively determine that it is the act of sitting that is the culprit. It is possible that the people who sit for long periods of time also make other unhealthy lifestyle choices.

SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers can help seniors and other individuals develop and maintain healthier lifestyles.  This includes increased activity and exercise, as well as healthier eating habits, and increased socialization.