Sitting down for too long may be causing 70,000 UK deaths a year – The Guardian, 26 March 2019, Nicola Davis
The Death Sit
“Sitting or lying down for long periods during the day is not only bad for your health it could be the cause of almost 70,000 deaths and cost the NHS at least £700m a year, new research has revealed.
Scientists have previously flagged that sedentary behaviour increases the risk of a number of diseases as well as a premature death.
Now experts have looked into the financial burden of sedentary behaviour in the UK, revealing that sitting or lying down for at least six hours a day is behind £424m of spending on cardiovascular disease, £281m on type-2 diabetes and £30m on colon cancer alone.”
Through the WI Lens
It’s long been recognised that sedentary lifestyles are generally unhealthy. What the study featured in this article does is to put some numbers on the issue. It describes how a team at Queen’s University Belfast pulled together NHS spending data on a range of diseases – including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and endometrial, colon and lung cancers – and combined this with evidence from previous studies on the propensity for sedentary lifestyles to lead to each of these conditions. After crunching the numbers, it came out with costs, and human costs, attached to sitting in the same place for too long. The good news is that getting up and moving around is good for you; less welcome is that you need to spend a considerable proportion of your time mobile to make a significant difference. As this health risk is increasingly recognised we are going to see a growing market for products that encourage people to spend less time inert in their workplace. That could be apps that make you get up and exercise; it could be ergonomic workstations that allow you to walk and work in sync. Staying still will no longer be an option.
“The industry has every asset needed to be a guiding light in the shift toward personal health priority. Will that become a prevention legacy, a ‘phoenix rising’ from the Covid-19 ashes?”
“Looking at the bigger picture, putting the measures in this order represents a lost opportunity that the pandemic could have offered for a cultural pivot pivot towards getting people more focused on their health, a powerful statement of intent.”
“Employment is necessary to fulfil our most basic human needs such as food and shelter. Any significant increase in long-term unemployment will spell a retrograde step for human wellbeing like no other.”
“All roads lead to a wellbeing anchor, whether that be economic/financial, physical, mental or emotional: all contribute to a progressive and inclusive cosmopolitan world. The answer should not be a choice of one or the other but of a joined up and compassionate solution for society, business and individuals.”
“The paradox is that we continue to do this in spite of recognising that striving to become ever-more productive is an intrinsically unhealthy behaviour, leading to stress and too often, a sense of failure.”
“The same broad-sweeping structural racism that enables police brutality against black Americans is also responsible for higher mortality among black Americans with Covid-19,” Maimuna Majumder, a Harvard epidemiologist working on the Covid-19 response, tells Vox.
The take-out from this? Wellbeing cannot exist at a more elevated level without our basic needs being met.
This is not the testimony of any ordinary victim of Covid-19, but that of virologist Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and one of the scientists who discovered Ebola back in 1976.
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Before Times and After Times. Is that how we’ll come to see the Covid-19 pandemic in the fullness of time?