In our modern communities—where the daily demands of work and family commitments are in crescendo—the need for regular and moderate physical exercise is of paramount importance to conserve, not only the physical well-being, but the psychological one as well. The epidemiologist Jerry Morris labelled physical exercise as the “best buy” in Public Health.

Supra-national institutions like the “World Health Organization” (WHO) have been pushing the agenda of healthy lifestyles at the national levels by targeting the modifiable risk factors of tobacco, alcohol and obesity. Only lately has the pervasive “sedentary behavior” received the same attention. However the local policies to promote physical activity are intertwined with critical issues like housing, transportation, land distribution and education.

Ulf Ekelund et al. methodically reviewed the data of 14 studies found in six major databases and 2 unpublished ones to study the prospective cohorts that contained “individual level exposure and outcome data on both daily sitting or TV-viewing time and physical activity, and reported effect estimates for all-cause mortality, as well as cardiovascular, breast and colon mortalities.”

The researchers segmented the daily sitting time and TV-viewing time into four standardized groups each and physical activities into quartiles. They studied the data on almost one million persons followed from 2 to 18 years.The group that included those individuals sitting less than 4 hr per day and in the most active quartile was used as a reference group for comparisons.

Compared to the reference group, the mortality rate was 12-59% higher in the two lowest quartiles of physical activity but the daily sitting time was not associated with higher mortality in the most active quartile of exercise. Those that sat the least (less than 4 hours/day) but were also in the lowest quartile of exercise had a higher risk of death during the follow-up. Watching TV more than 3 hours/day was associated with a higher mortality regardless of the physical activity, except in the most active quartile.

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