A group of researchers from the American Cancer Society found a link between prolonged sitting and a higher risk of cancer in women. The link was not statistically significant in men, researchers noted.
According to the new report, women who spend more than six hours per day sitting down have a higher risk of breast, ovaries and spinal cancers. Scientists learned that the risk was also present in women that were engaged in regular physical activity. The latter had also a 10 percent to 65 percent increased risk of developing the said cancers because of excess sitting.
Other studies had showed that low-activity levels combined with prolonged sitting may prove deadly in some people, but the latest study is the first to find a higher risk only in women.
During their research, scientists studied medical records of nearly 70,000 men and more than 77,000 women between 1992 and 2009. The average age of the participants when the study started was 60. Over the years, more than 18,500 men and 12,000 women were diagnosed with cancer.
The participants were also surveyed about how much time they spent sitting down during their leisure time. Surprisingly, women who reported that they sat down twice the average time had a 10 percent to 65 percent higher risk of developing cancer on the long run. The results remained consistent even after the research team adjusted them for other factors such as BMI and psychical activity.
Study authors wrote in their paper that excess sitting during leisure time was linked with a higher risk of bone marrow, ovarian, and breast cancers only in women. There was no similar risk in men.
Researchers said that they plan to conduct a new study to learn the underpinnings of the differences spotted in men and women.
According to the study, women who sat down more than six hours on a daily basis had a 65 percent increased risk of getting bone marrow cancer, 43 percent higher risk to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and are 10 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than their peers who spent less than three hours sitting down.
Researchers believe that cancer risk may be influenced by the changes in the body’s metabolism including higher glucose levels that can also lead to diabetes. In 2012, University of Leicester researchers found out that excess sitting may also lead to type 2 diabetes, while scientists at the University of Regensburg in Germany learned that prolonged sitting may boost bowl and lung cancer risk in both sexes.
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