After an increasing amount of research has already outlined the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time, a new study has now found that long periods of inactivity are to blame for nearly 4 percent of all deaths worldwide.
Published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and carried out by researchers from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and San Jorge University in Zaragoza, Spain, the study looked at 54 countries across the world using data from between 2002 to 2011.
The data revealed that over 60% of people worldwide spend more than three hours a day sitting down, with adults spending on average 4.7 hours of their day sat down.
According to the study this inactivity is causing 3.8% of deaths across the world -- approximately 433,000 deaths a year.
The team found that the highest rates of death were found in the Western Pacific, followed by parts of Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean region, America and Southeast Asia.
Looking at the results by country, the highest rates were found in Lebanon (11.6%), the Netherlands (7.6%) and Denmark (6.9%), while the lowest rates were in Mexico (0.6%), Myanmar (1.3%) and Bhutan (1.6%). Spain falls within the average range with 3.7% of deaths, with Canada and the USA both above the average with 4.7 percent and 4.2 percent of deaths respectively.
Several studies published in 2012 by the journal Lancet already that showed 31% of the global population fails to meet the current recommendations for physical activity, with the authors of the study calculating that increasing active time and reducing sitting time in the countries studied could increase life expectancy by 0.20 years.
According to their analysis, reducing sitting time by two hours -- around a 50% reduction on the average sitting time found in the study -- would result in a 2.3% decrease in risk of mortality (three times less). Even a reduction of just 10 percent -- or half an hour a day -- could reduce mortality by 0.6%.
The team now advise that sedentary behavior should be minimized in order to prevent premature deaths around the world and suggest that strategic national health campaigns, such as bike-sharing systems, could be rolled out by countries to get the population moving more.