We're all very aware of the bigger cancer triggers in our lives, smoking, alcohol, poor diet and chronic inflammation, just to name a few! But it turns out there's another hidden cancer cause that's a little closer to home, and occupies much of our daily lives: sitting.
1. One adverse effect of prolonged sitting is that it's linked to weight gain and obesity. Obesity can promote cancer-causing processes such as inflammation, which may enhance certain hormones which are linked to cancer formation. Weight gain is also associated with a reduction of Vitamin D which can increase your risk of developing colon cancer
2. A study printed by Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that people who spend more hours of the day sitting have up to 66% higher risk of developing certain types of cancer compared to those that aren't as sedentary.
3. The link between sitting and cancer remains strong no matter how much physical activity you do. In other words, even those people who work out regularly, if they spend hours on the couch watching TV, showed higher incidences of cancer than those who didn't sit as much.
4. Not all sitting is equal. Researchers have found that sedentary behaviour of sitting watching TV is linked to 54% higher risk of colon cancer and a 66% greater risk of endometrial cancer. Furthermore, this type of sitting is most consistently linked with long-term health risks such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and an early death.
5. Sedentary behavior was associated with a 24% greater risk of developing colon cancer, a 32% higher risk of endometrial cancer, and a 21% increased risk of lung cancer.
6. Recent studies show the total time spent sitting a day is linked with developing diabetes, but only in people who are physically inactive or both physically inactive and obese.
7. People who sit for prolonged periods of time are more likely to have higher blood sugar levels. A recent study found that people who got up and did light to moderate walking after lunch had lower blood sugar levels and less of a peak in blood sugar than people who didn’t get up after eating. Higher blood sugar is linked to risk of developing diabetes.
The key take home message here - sit less, exercise more, watch less TV, keep active and don't become obese.