Hours of sitting linked to increased risks of premature death among older women

A woman stretches in her living room.

Movement is an essential part of heart-healthy aging and researchers found that older women who spent about less than 9 hours sitting each day were less likely to die prematurely or experience a fatal heart attack or stroke compared to women who spent more than 11.5 hours idle. These associations came from an observational study with 5,000 women in their 70s and 80s. The results published in the Journal of the American Heart Association

As part of this review, participants in the Women’s Health Initiative Objective Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Health (OPACH) Study were provided with a hip-based movement tracker for a week between 2012-2014. Their total activity time was recorded and assessed separately from how much they slept or exercised, such as participating in an aerobics class. Through a retrospective analysis, researchers assessed how total sedentary time and stretches of idleness correlated with death and fatal cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, throughout early 2022. During this period, 1,733 deaths, including 632 cardiovascular deaths, occurred. The researchers found women who sat for more than 11-12 hours each day had a greater associated risk of dying prematurely compared to those who sat less. They note these findings could inform public health approaches to help older women stay active

The study was supported by NHLBI, the National Institute on Aging, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.