A recent study suggests that women who spend a lot of time sitting down are more prone to cancer. Sedentary leisure activities also have a big contribution.
The study was conducted by researchers from the American Cancer Society and was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.
It is already well-known fact that physical activity can lead to many health problems such as heart disease and obesity. Even though previous studies do not link sedentariness with cancer development they suggest that physical exercise can prevent cancer.
The research involved more than 146.000 participants including 77.462 women and 69.260 men who did not suffer from cancer when they enrolled in the study. The study was focused on finding a link between cancer risk and the leisure time spent sitting. Between 1992 and 2009 a number of 12.246 women and 18.55 men were diagnosed with cancer.
Overall the findings of the study suggest that leisure time spent sitting leads to ten percent increased chances of developing cancer but only in the case of women. Surprisingly researchers did not find a similar result in the case of men. The scientists noted that further research is needed in order to understand exactly why there is a difference between men and women.
It was also noted that prolonged sitting is associated with increased risk of developing ovarian cancer, breast cancer and myeloma (cancer of the plasma cells).
The lead author of the study Alpa Patel from American Cancer Society remarked:
“The higher risk was present even after taking into account body mass index (BMI), physical activity, and other factors.”
An increase in the time spent sitting was indeed observed in the last past decades. This might be due to the fact that most people work in offices and therefore most of the time they spend at work is spent sitting down. Moreover nowadays most leisure activities are connected with computers, TVs and game consoles. So they are indoor activities which do not require much physical activity.
Another explanation could be public transportation. Since cities are permanently developing they become bigger and bigger and long distances cannot be covered by walking. There might cases when people spend even a few hours a day in buses, trains or other means of public transportation. Guidelines made by the American Cancer Society recommend people to reduce sitting time as much as possible.
Image Source: Daily Mail