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Study: Sitting More Than 12 Hours In A Day Increases Risk Of Death

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Doctors have been saying sitting is the new smoking, in terms of being dangerous to your health. Now, there's more evidence on how important it is to get up and move around on a regular basis.

Like many of us, executive assistant Meghan Hampsey spends way too many hours sitting behind a desk.

"I'm on the phone a lot, the computer a lot, sending lots of emails," she said.

Previous studies have shown being sedentary can be bad for your health. Now, a new study says it's not just the total time spent sitting throughout the day, but specifically sitting for long periods of time.

"Sitting increases your risk of death, regardless of whether you exercise or not. If you sat for over 12 hours on a given day, your risk of death increased substantially," study author, Dr. Keith Diaz at Columbia University Medical Center said.

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Dr. Diaz and researchers from Columbia University Medical Center looked at nearly 8,000 middle age and older adults and found they sat on average for about 11 to 12 hours a day.

But the study also shows people who kept periods of sitting to less than half an hour had a lower risk of death.

"We think that if you take a movement break every 30 minutes that this could decrease your risk of death: if you can have walking meetings, if you have to type an email, instead of typing an email, just walk to their office," Dr. Diaz explained.

Hampsey and her co-workers are getting the message.

"Our office just decided to institute September so everybody has Fitbits," she said.

And Hampsey says moving around also gets the mind working.

Researchers say this is the largest study done so far that links sedentary time, specifically sitting for long periods of time with an increased death risk.

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