Bowel Cancer Australia is urging people to ‘get up’ after a study has found a strong link between colon cancer and sitting, especially television viewing.
The study comes as cooler weather sets in and many of us sit down to enjoy major sporting events such as the World Cup and State of Origin.
Assessing 43 studies which included more than four million individuals and almost 69,000 cancer cases, the researchers at the University of Regensburg in Germany found an eight per cent increase in colon cancer for each two hour increase in sitting time.
Bowel Cancer Australia chief executive Mr Julien Wiggins said the study highlights that doing nothing can actually increase your colon cancer risk.
“The benefits of physical activity, including being protective against bowel cancer, are well documented and now there is increasing evidence that sitting is no longer a harmless activity,” he added.
Television viewing time showed the strongest relationship with colon and endometrial cancer with the authors suggesting this may be because watching television often involves sweetened beverages and junk food.
“The study also found that sitting for long periods of time can still be detrimental to those who are otherwise physically active – 30 mins at the gym is not going to negate 10 hours of sitting,” said Mr Wiggins.
“Physical activity needs to be combined with getting up more often. That can be a real challenge for many of us when most of your work day is spent sitting, and relaxing involves sitting on the lounge,” he added.
June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.
“There are almost 15,000 new cases of bowel cancer each year, so we’re asking people to help us with our work so we can continue helping others,” said Mr Wiggins.
(Source: Bowel Cancer Australia, National Cancer Institute)