Status: 18.09.2023, 19:00 p.m.
By: Judith Braun
After a certain period of sitting, the risk of dementia increases. In addition, it increases with each additional hour of rest.
More and more people in Germany are suffering from dementia – and the trend is rising. According to a forecast by the German Alzheimer's Society, the number of people suffering from dementia in this country could rise to around 2050.2 million by 4. There are various factors that promote dementia. It is not only genetic predisposition that plays a role here. Some risk factors can be influenced, such as a healthy diet or sufficient exercise. As a study has found, sitting for long periods of time can also increase the risk of dementia.
Study investigates link between long periods of sitting and an increased risk of dementia
People in the U.S. and also Europeans are spending more and more time sitting. However, this can increase the risk of dementia. © Wolfgang Maria Weber/IMAGO
People are spending more and more of their time sitting. According to studies, for example, more than half of U.S. adults sit for 9.5 hours a day and spend as much as 80 percent of their free time in this position. The situation is similar for Europeans, who, according to scientific knowledge, also sit more than before. For their study, published in the journal JAMA, a team of researchers led by David Raichlen, Professor of Biosciences and Anthropology, investigated whether there is a connection between sitting and the development of dementia.
To do this, the scientists analyzed data from the UK Biobank, for which around 50,000 people over the age of 60 wore a fitness tracker around the clock for a week between 2013 and 2015. None of the participants had dementia at the time. The study looked at how much time the participants spent sitting (minus sleep times). In addition, it was checked whether the rest phases took place with interruptions such as getting up or continuously. Age, gender and level of education were also surveyed. Lifestyle with diet, exercise, alcohol or smoking, as well as mental state were also taken into account. About six years later, 414 of the participants had been diagnosed with dementia.
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Sitting for long periods of time can increase the risk of dementia
The results of the study showed that people who sit for more than ten hours a day have a higher risk of dementia, as opposed to those who sit for less than 9.5 hours a day. Accordingly, with each hour of rest, the risk continues to increase. Both diet and exercise do not play a role. It is also irrelevant whether you get up again and again in between or actually sit for ten hours at a time. Raichlen recommends that people with office jobs exercise regularly and get enough exercise. Because many would know the recommendation that you should get up or walk around every 30 minutes. "However, only absolute time is likely to be decisive for the risk of dementia," says the scientist. Whether there is actually a causal relationship and whether dementia can be prevented with physical activity is something more research needs to be done.
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