By Dr Ryan Burkhart

The past few years have seen a rise in concerns about prolonged sitting. Many flashy headlines read that “sitting is the new smoking.” This is quite a provocative statement, especially given most American sit for long periods of time throughout the work day.

Sitting - The New Smoking

Where did this idea come from?

It is largely based on research conducted in 2012. Surveys were used to collect data on physical activity in several countries (mostly in Western world). This information was correlated to a variety of other health conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. These statistics predicted that an in-activity society is more likely to have higher rates of disease. This suggested activity level can positively or negatively affect longevity and quality of life by preventing these diseases. Following this research the statistics associated with inactivity were compared to other known risk factors for disease such as smoking and obesity. The rates or probabilities for many diseases were similar whether smoking, obese or inactive, thus was born the phrase, sitting is the new smoking.

The degree of negative effects of prolonged sitting are not as conclusive or as well researched as smoking or other poor lifestyle choices.  The findings of this study were based in statistics. Clinical research has been conducted as well. This research was based on individuals rather than probability and statistics. These studies suggest that moderate activity on a daily basis can reduce the risk of developing certain diseases or chance of death, however it doesn’t eliminate the risks. This means in a sedentary lifestyle, you are inherently at risk for certain disease associated with inactivity.

Can Chiropractic help?

Chiropractic care can help reduce the negative effects of sitting on the spine. We work with the spine and its supporting structures to improve the muscles and discs. This will help to keep you moving! Our multi-faceted approach at Burkhart & Chapp Chiropractic may be the missing link to improve your health. Contact our team at 616.698.0046 to learn more about our integrative approach and advanced therapies.


This video adds additional insight on sitting and longevity:





Lee, I, Shiroma, EJ et al. (2012). Impact of physical inactivity on the world’s major non-communicable diseases. The Lancet. 380(9838) 219-229.

Ekelund, U et al. (2016). Does physical activity attenuate, or even eliminate, the detrimental association of sitting time with mortality? A harmonised meta-analysis of data from more than 1 million men and women. The Lancet. 388(10051),1302-1310.

Diaz KM, Howard VJ, Hutto B, et al. (2017). Patterns of Sedentary Behavior and Mortality in U.S. Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A National Cohort Study. Ann Intern Med. 167, 465–475.

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