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Americans Sitting More Than Ever

The amount of time we spend sitting increased by an hour from 2007 to 2016.
Gabriele Diwald
The amount of time we spend sitting increased by an hour from 2007 to 2016.

We spend a lot of our time on our rear ends. The average adult in the U.S. sits for more than six hours each day, while most teenagers are seated for over eight hours of the day. That’s according to new research in the Journal of the American Medical Association published last week.

Despite the well-known negative health impacts of being sedentary—a greater risk of heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and premature death—the habit has gotten worse, and computers are largely to blame.

The authors analyzed self-reported data from over 50,000 people and found that Americans sat for an hour more of their day from 2007 to 2016.

“It's a big change considering how much time we are able to control each day,” said study author Yin Cao, an epidemiologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

We’re still watching just as much television as we used to. And now, we’re spending more time sitting, staring at our computers, even outside of school and work. 

“This is really concerning given its potential health consequences. And we are really surprised to see such high prevalence among children,” said Cao.


Elsa Partan is the producer of Living Lab Radio. Heather Goldstone is executive producer.

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