How to take seven years off your life

SITTING too long and sleeping more than nine hours are two of six things that could take years off your life, new research has revealed.

People who sit for more than seven hours a day and sleep for more than nine hours a day have a higher mortality rate than those who live health lives.

These two new factors join the four well-researched culprits that reduce life expectancy including, smoking, inactivity, poor diet and excessive alcohol consumption.

More than 230,000 people aged over 45 took part in a six year study conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney.

The study found people who had all six habits were more than five times as likely to die during a six year period than those who lived a healthy life.

It was published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Participants who combined sitting for long periods, prolonged sleep, smoking and alcohol consumption were more likely to die early.

University of Sydney researchers said 'This large study reaffirms the importance of healthy lifestyles.'

The researchers said unhealthy habits were responsible for one third of deaths.

Dr Melody Ding said 'To examine specific patterns of lifestyle risk behaviours, 96 variables - representing all possible mutually exclusive combinations of smoking, high alcohol intake, physical inactivity, poor diet, prolonged sitting, and short/long sleep duration - were created.

"Short and long sleep durations were separated as two different risk factors, as their associations with mortality may be explained by different mechanisms," she said.

"This analysis investigated four established and two [new] risk factors, namely, prolonged sitting and unhealthy sleep duration, which may be added to behavioural indices or risk combinations to quantify health risk."

The six deadly sins

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Poor diet
  • Inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Spending more than seven hours a day sitting down
  • Sleeping for more than nine hours a day
  • A person who has all six bad habits is more than five times as likely to die in a six year period than a person who has a healthy lifestyle


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