Dr. Mark Tremblay and PhD candidate, Travis Saunders, are quoted in a Globe and Mail article published yesterday, “Is your office chair killing you?

From the article:

For decades, hundreds if not thousands of studies have examined the relationship between our activity levels and our health. Only recently have researchers turned their attention to the consequences of sitting at a desk all day and lying on the couch all evening.

“We’re talking extensively and producing public health messages about what we don’t do. And we don’t talk at all about what we do do: We don’t move very much, but we do sit idle,” says Dr. Mark Tremblay, director of healthy active living and obesity research at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute.

The average person now spends 9.3 hours a day sitting. People who sit for six or more hours per day are 40 per cent more likely to die within 15 years compared to someone who sits less than three hours a day, even if they exercise. Obese people sit 2½ hours more each day than people of normal weight, according to data compiled by Medical Billing and Coding, a U.S.-based organization.

As recently as 2006, there wasn’t much data about this – that’s when a group of Canadian scientists published a commentary calling for research on sedentary behaviour in the Canadian Journal of Public Health. “Research into sedentary behaviour is at an early stage,” they wrote. “We actually know very little about the nature of sedentary behaviour, its dimensions, determinants and relationships to important health outcomes.”

This year marked a huge turning point in the field. Research may still be at an early stage, but scientific interest has reached unprecedented levels. In February, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology launched its sedentary behaviour guidelines for children and youth, the first systematic evidence-based sedentary behaviour guidelines in the world. The August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicinewas dedicated to the theme of sedentary behaviour. The Journal of Applied Physiology, followed suit in October, with a theme issue of its own, highlighting the physiology of sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity. And in September, Dr. Tremblay and his team launched the Sedentary Behaviour Research Network, a first of its kind that has so far connected more than 100 researchers from around the world.

“We realized that there’s this big growing field of research, but we aren’t actually linked by one organization,” says Travis Saunders, one of Dr. Tremblay’s colleagues who helped establish the network. “So many labs are getting into this area that it’s hard to keep track of who’s doing what.”

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

To visit the Sedentary Behaviour Research Network, click here.