Sedentary Behavior Linked to Increased Dementia Risk
A recent study suggests that the risk of developing dementia significantly rises when spending excessive hours in a sedentary state. The research, conducted by teams from the University of Southern California and the University of Arizona, examined data from over 50,000 British adults aged 60 and above. Participants wore wrist devices for a week to monitor their activity levels, differentiating between periods of sitting and sleep.
Diverse Sedentary Activities Contribute to Risk
While activities like watching TV and driving are commonly associated with sedentary behavior, the study expanded the scope to encompass various activities such as playing video games, computer use, commuting while sitting, or working at a desk. The study followed these adults for approximately six years, during which 414 were diagnosed with dementia. The analysis revealed a notable connection between prolonged sitting and dementia risk.
Risk Increases with Extended Sedentary Hours
The research found that individuals who spent more than 10 hours per day in a sedentary state faced an elevated risk of developing dementia. Specifically, those who spent 10 hours per day sitting were 8 percent more likely to be diagnosed with dementia compared to those who sat for fewer hours. The risk further escalated for those who spent 12 hours sitting, with a 63 percent increase in the likelihood of dementia. Those who accumulated 15 sedentary hours a day were three times more likely to receive a dementia diagnosis.
Total Sedentary Time Matters
Study author Professor Gene Alexander noted the surprising finding that the risk of dementia significantly increased after 10 hours of daily sedentary behavior, regardless of how the sedentary time was distributed. This implies that the cumulative time spent in a sedentary state is the key factor driving the link between sedentary behavior and dementia risk. Importantly, sedentary behavior levels up to approximately 10 hours were not associated with increased risk.
No Significant Impact of Sedentary Period Length
The study also highlighted that the length of individual sedentary periods within the day, such as prolonged sitting followed by activity or interspersed sitting and standing, had a similar relationship with dementia risk. This suggests that the total duration of sedentary behavior, rather than the pattern of sitting, is the critical factor associated with an increased risk of dementia.
This study, published in the journal Jama Network Open, emphasizes the importance of reducing sedentary behavior to mitigate the risk of developing dementia, highlighting a need for more active and less sedentary lifestyles to promote cognitive health.