In a new study from the University of Calgary, researchers found adults younger than age 60 whose days are filled with sedentary leisure time (which includes using the computer, TV, or reading) and little physical activity have a higher stroke risk.
According to American Heart Association statistics, U.S. adults spend an average of 10.5 hours a day connected to media such as smartphones, computers or television watching, and adults ages 50 to 64 spend the most time of any age group connected to media.
Previous research suggests the more time adults spend sedentary, the greater their risk of cardiovascular disease including stroke, and nearly 9 in 10 strokes could be attributed to modifiable risk factors such as sedentary behaviors.
In this study, researchers reviewed health and lifestyle information for 143,000 adults with no prior stroke, heart disease or cancer in years 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007-2012.
They followed the participants for an average of 9.4 years (until Dec. 31, 2017) and identified strokes through linkages with hospital records.
The team found adults 60 years and younger who had low physical activity and reported eight or more hours of leisure sedentary time a day had 4.2 times higher risk of stroke compared to those reporting less than four hours of daily leisure sedentary time.
The most inactive group — those reporting eight or more hours of sedentary time and low physical activity — had a 7 times higher risk of stroke compared to those reporting less than four hours of sedentary time a day and higher levels of physical activity.
The team says adults 60 years and younger should be aware that very high sedentary time with little time spent on physical activity can have adverse effects on health, including increased risk of stroke.
Physical activity has a very important role in that it reduces the actual time spent sedentary, and it also seems to diminish the negative impact of excess sedentary time.
The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes, or 2.5 hours, of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.
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The study is published in Stroke. One author of the study is Raed A. Joundi, M.D., D.Phil.
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