For years now, the American Heart Association and other health organizations have been warning the public that sitting kills. Too much sedentary time increases the likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, and death. Sitting has been called the “new smoking,” per the Cleveland Clinic, and a “silent killer,” per research.

A large new study, based on health data from nearly half a million adults, adds to those warnings, after finding that individuals who predominantly sit at work had a 16 percent higher risk of mortality from all causes, and a 34 percent higher risk of death from heart disease compared with those who predominantly did not sit.

A little activity each day, however, may go a long way toward cutting that risk. The research, published in JAMA Network Open, suggests that constant sitters who engage in an additional 15 to 30 minutes of physical activity per day could lower their likelihood of dying to the same level as people who mostly do not sit at work.

“The serious risks associated with prolonged occupational sitting can be mitigated by incorporating regular breaks and engaging in additional physical activity,” wrote Chi-Pang Wen, MD, PhD, with the Institute of Population Health Science at the National Health Research Institute in Taiwan, and his study coauthors. “Systemic changes, such as more frequent breaks, standing desks, designated workplace areas for physical activity, and gym membership benefits, can help reduce risk.”

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