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Sitting three hours a day can take two years off your life

A new study found that sitting for a mere three hours a day can take up to two years off your lifespan.

Sitting life expectancy Enlarge
A new study has found that sitting for three hours a day takes up to two years off your life. (AFP/Getty/AFP/Getty Images)

A new study found that sitting for a mere three hours a day can take up to two years off your lifespan. 

The article published online Monday in BMJ Open found that if people cut the time they spent sitting to less than two hours a day, it would add about 1.4 years to their life. 

Peter Katzmarzyk, a researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge and lead author of the study, told USA Today, "Sitting is a dangerous risk factor for early death, on par with smoking and being obese."

To reach these findings the group analyzed several studies that evaluated sitting and all causes of death along with government data that showed almost half of people report sitting more than six hours a day. 

The researchers found that if people sat for less than three hours a day, the average life expectancy in this country would be 80.5 years instead of the current 78.5 years, USA Today reported.

Katzmarzyk's group isn't the first to advise against the dangers of sitting. 

In 2010, an Australian research group found that people who said they watched TV for more than four hours a day were 46 percent more likely to die of any cause than people who said they spent less than two hours a day watching TV, the Wall Street Journal reported. Those who sat and watched TV for more than four hours a day were 80 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease.

To offset the negative affects of sitting Natasha Stewart, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, told the BBC, people should swap out their TV habits for heart healthy ones like walking or biking. Stewart added, "We all need to be regularly active to keep our hearts healthy."

More from GlobalPost: Life expectancy gap narrows between races

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/120710/sitting-three-hours-day-can-take-two-years-your-life