Sitting Less Reduces Risk of Early Death, Study Says

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. substitute / ˈsʌbstɪˌtuːt / (v) – to replace something with something else

    You can substitute vegetable oil for olive oil.

  2. look into (something) / lʊk ˈɪntu / (phrasal) – to investigate something

    Researchers are looking into the link between excessive sitting and obesity.

  3. inactivity / ɪnˌækˈtɪvəti / (n) – the state of not moving

    According to the doctor, too much inactivity can lead to health problems.

  4. subject / ˈsʌbʤɪkt / (n) – someone or something being studied or researched on

    Diabetes is the subject of many studies.

  5. sedentary / ˈsɛdn̩ˌteri / (adj) – doing a lot of sitting and having very little movement

    Many adults live sedentary lifestyles because their jobs require them to sit all day.


Read the text below.

A recent study advises people to substitute 30 minutes of sitting with physical activities to reduce the risk of early death.

In the study, a research team from Columbia University looked into the health impact of replacing inactivity with physical activities. The team monitored nearly 8,000 adult Americans aged 45 years old and above by asking them to wear an activity tracker for four to seven days from 2009 to 2013. After the monitoring period, the researchers found that the subjects remained inactive for an average of 694 minutes while awake.

The research team also discovered that doing low-intensity movements, such as walking for 30 minutes, can decrease the risk of early death by around 17%. Moreover, high-intensity movements, such as cycling and running, can lower the risk by 35%.

According to the researchers, another interesting finding is that physical activity does not have to be done for 30 minutes straight. A person may opt to take one-minute breaks to move every now and then or have standing or walking meetings to keep the body active for at least 30 minutes every day.

Lead researcher Keith Diaz explained that people with a sedentary lifestyle tend to sit for many hours, even after heavy meals. Such an inactive way of life can prove fatal because staying still and seated causes sugar to build up in the blood. Increased levels of sugar in the blood exposes a person to higher risks of diabetes and heart disease, which can cause early death.

Thus, researchers recommend doing physical activities to make sure that the sugar in the blood is used up.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think many people in your country live sedentary lifestyles? Explain.
• Why do you think some people live sedentary lifestyles and some people do not?

Discussion B

• Aside from doing physical activities, what other lifestyle changes do you think will help prevent early death? Give more details.
• Are you willing to apply these changes? Why or why not?