USA Today reports that a study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 2,286 respondents 60 and older found that “every additional hour adults over age 60 spend sitting increases by 50% their risk of being disabled for activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and walking.”
The survey participants used accelerometers “during their waking hours for one week.” It found that among participants, just 6.2% “met the government’s physical activity guidelines” of “2 ½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.”
Study authors said that although it is possible that “disabled people are more sedentary, but there are good reasons to believe that being sedentary could lead to disability.”
The Los Angeles Times reports the study found that “being sedentary will lead to problems ‘independent of time spent in moderate or vigorous activity.’” Of the participants, the average “spent almost nine waking hours a day sedentary,” while 3.6 percent reported a disability. Sedentary behavior was positively related to “older age, being male, being more educated and less wealthy, being a smoker and having a chronic illness.”
Reuters reports the point of the finding is that sitting is an independent risk factor for disability. CBS News reports that the study found, “Being sedentary is not just a synonym for inadequate physical activity.” NBC News reports that author Dr. Dorothy Dunlop of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine suggested “pushing a grocery cart, strolling through a museum, and even getting up once an hour to walk around.”
FOX News explains that disability means needing help for “basic activities” such as “feeding yourself, bathing yourself, dressing yourself, walking from room to room.” NPR reports in its “Shots” blog that “nearly half of people 65 and older have a disability,” and that increased exercise did not compensate for hours sitting.