Too Much Sitting Can Cause Early Death

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Dr. J G Moellendorf, DC, ND, LCP examines recent research demonstrating that while prolonged sitting can lead to an early death, increased standing can improve one’s health.

The assumption has been that if you're fit and physically active, that will protect you, even if you spend a huge amount of time sitting each day.

Everyone knows that being a coach potato is unhealthy. Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin Chiropractor and Naturopath Dr. J G Moellendorf, DC, ND, LCP notes that recent research has shown that prolonged sitting can be deadly, while increasing one’s time standing can have beneficial health results.

A research team led by Dr. Rebecca Seguin of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York followed a multiethnic group of 92,234 women between the ages of 50 and 79 years for over 12 years to see what effect prolonged sitting would have on their health. The women were divided into four groups according to their reported daily sitting time: up to 4 hours daily, more than 4 and up to 8 hours, more than 8 and up to 11 hours, and over 11 hours daily. Of particular interest was the development of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and death from cancer.

The researchers found that women who spent over 11 hours per day sitting were 12% more likely to die prematurely from any cause compared to those spending 4 hours or less sitting. Premature death from prolonged sitting was increased 13% by cardiovascular disease, 21% by cancer, and 27% by coronary heart disease. The connection between prolonged sitting and premature death remained the same even when controlling for chronic disease, age, race, body mass index, physical mobility and function, and overall fitness. It was noted that even women who exercised regularly had an increased risk of dying prematurely if they spent excessive amounts of time sitting.

This study, titled “Sedentary Behavior and Mortality in Older Women,” was published in the January 2014 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Lead researcher Dr. Rebecca Seguin concludes, "The assumption has been that if you're fit and physically active, that will protect you, even if you spend a huge amount of time sitting each day… you are far less protected from negative health effects of being sedentary than you realize… If you're in an office, get up and move around frequently… If you're retired and have more idle time, find ways to move around inside and outside the house. Get up between TV programs, take breaks in computer and reading time, and be conscious of interrupting prolonged sedentary time."

The November 2013 issue of BMC Health published a research paper titled “Active Lifestyles Related to Excellent Self-rated Health and Quality of Life: Cross Sectional Findings from 194,545 Participants in The 45 and Up Study”. The research team led by Dr. Richard Rosencranz of Kansas State University—Manhattan studied the health effects of sitting on 194,545 Australian men and women over 45 years old. They found decreased risks of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, and colon cancer when sitting less. It was found that when the body’s muscles are inactive during extended sitting, the production of lipoprotein lipase, which metabolizes fat, is shut down. Co-researcher Dr. Sara Rosenkranz states, "We're basically telling our bodies to shut down the processes that help to stimulate metabolism throughout the day and that is not good… Just by breaking up your sedentary time, we can actually up-regulate that process in the body." Dr. Rosenkranz advises office workers to try using a sit/stand desk to decrease their sitting time while increasing their physical activity throughout the day.

Dr. J G Moellendorf notes that he sees many patients who are inactive because of pain. By returning movement to fixated joints and decreasing their pain through Chiropractic care, they are able to return to an active lifestyle and become healthier all around.

Moellendorf Chiropractic Office, Ltd. uses the latest research findings to provide a comprehensive package of Chiropractic care, decompression traction therapy, active therapeutic movement training, cold laser therapy, and nutrition for the natural treatment of neurological conditions, neck and back pain, and other health conditions without drugs or surgery. Additional information about Chiropractic, Naturopathy, and other forms of natural health care has been provided by Moellendorf Chiropractic Office, Ltd. at

About: Dr. J G Moellendorf, DC, ND, LCP
Dr. J G Moellendorf, DC, ND, LCP attended the University of Wisconsin—Superior where he majored in Physics and Mathematics, with a minor in art photography. While attending the University of Minnesota—Minneapolis, he assisted in research on ribosomal proteins. Completing his Chiropractic studies at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, he graduated Cum Laude (with high honors) in 1983. He started Moellendorf Chiropractic Office, Ltd. in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in 1983. In 1996, Dr. Moellendorf was awarded his Doctorate in Naturopathy from Trinity School of Natural Health. In 2001, he received Chiropractic’s most prestigious award, the honorary Legion of Chiropractic Philosophers degree, for his thesis “The Workings of Innate Intelligence in Obsessive/Compulsive and Addictive Behaviors.” This paper was chosen for publishing in the book Philosophic Contemplations vol. 2 in 2002. In June of 2012, Dr. Moellendorf authored his first book titled Healthcare’s Best Kept Secret. Dr. Moellendorf can be contacted by phone (920) 493-2126, fax (920) 743-1145, email jgmoellendorf(at)itol(dot)com, his website at, or send a carrier pigeon to 44.84722N and 87.36416W.

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