Too much sitting could harm cancer survivors

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In a new study from Cancer Care Alberta, researchers found people who sit too much and are not physically active are much more likely to die early from cancer or any other cause than those who are more active.

They looked at data on 1500 cancer survivors who took part in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2007 to 2014.

They showed that inactive survivors who reported sitting more than eight hours a day were at the highest risk of dying.

Cancer survivors who did not meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans [150 minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous intensity leisure-time physical activity] and sit longer than eight hours per day had more than a fivefold increase in the risk of death from all causes—cancer and non-cancer.

The link was particularly troubling because the researchers found that as many as one-third of cancer survivors didn’t exercise and sat more than six hours a day.

Only about one-third got the recommended 150 hours of exercise a week.

The team says as researchers are facing the reality of a rapidly growing population of cancer survivors, interventions are timely and critical to target behavior changes.

The study has clinical and policy implications to collectively create programs that provide cancer survivors with capability, motivation and opportunities to initiate positive changes to sit less and move more.

Cancer survivors don’t often get the message that they should be physically active.

Part of the reason may be that patients aren’t motivated or don’t feel well, but it’s also because they aren’t encouraged to be active.

The team says people should strive for 150 minutes to 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity.

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The study is published in JAMA Oncology. One author of the study is Lin Yang.

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