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Sitting Too Long Raises Death Risk

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Get up off your chair -- your life is at stake, a new study suggests.

Sitting more than six hours a day raises your risk of death, even if you work out, said the study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Even if they exercised, women who sat six or more hours a day were 37 percent more likely to die over a 13-year period than people who sat less than three hours a day, the study said. And men who sat more than six hours a day had an 18 percent higher risk of death over a 13-year period than men who sat three or fewer hours a day.

The death risk was even higher for people who don't work out. The least active women in the study who also reported the highest amount of sitting were 94 percent more likely to die than those who said they sat the least and exercised the most. For men, it was 48 percent, the study said.

The study included 53,440 men and 69,776 women who were followed between 1993 and 2006.

Heart disease was more linked with the deaths than cancer was, researchers said, and there are a number of factors that could account for the study results.

"Prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin," American Cancer Society researcher Alpa Patel, Ph.D., said in a statement.

Those factors are signs of obesity, heart disease and other chronic diseases, he said.

This isn't the first study to link too much siting with risk of death. Past studies, including one published last year in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, showed that sitting for long periods of time -- whether at a desk, in the car or in front of the TV -- raises the risk of death, despite how much you exercise.

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