The sedentary nature of modern life and work has raised concerns that sitting is the new smoking. But there may not be a need to get out of your seat: an international team of researchers has concluded that claims comparing the health dangers of sitting for long periods with smoking cigarettes are misleading.

Being seated more than eight hours a day can increase the risk of premature death and some chronic diseases by 10% to 20%, but this pales in comparison to smoking risks. Smoking increases the risk of premature death from any cause by approximately 180%.

The recent increase in media coverage condemning sitting by making comparisons to smoking has far outpaced the available scientific evidence. Examination of smoking research reveals that sitting and smoking are distinct behaviors with different levels of associated risk.

According to the researchers, Betteridge’s law of headlines states that any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered with the word no. Is sitting the new smoking? No.

Scientists from Athabasca University (Canada), University of Queensland (Australia), Cancer Council Victoria (Australia), University of Calgary (Canada), University of South Australia, Arizona State University and Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute (Australia) participated in this research, which is published in the American Journal of Public Health.

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