Some 35% of Irish people are unaware that sitting for long periods every day can significantly increase their risk of heart disease and stroke, a new poll by the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) has shown.
According to the findings, Irish people currently spend an average of 7.3 hours per day sitting down. This increases to 8.4 hours among young people aged between 15 and 24, and to 8.9 hours among students.
The findings were released to coincide with the launch of the IHF's new campaign, #chairscankill, which aims to raise awareness of the potential impact on health of sitting down for long periods.
The poll of over 1,000 people revealed that while the vast majority were able to correctly identify certain cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, far fewer realised the dangers of sitting for long periods.
"Research has shown that sitting for long periods of time increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact, higher levels of sedentary behaviour are associated with a 147% increase in the risk of heart disease and stroke.
"As human beings, we are not designed to sit all day. However, in today's world many of us spend the majority of our days sitting, whether that's at home watching TV or on our devices, at a desk in work, or in the car," explained Janis Morrissey, head of health promotion with the IHF.
She said that this campaign hopes to raise awareness of the dangers associated with sitting for long periods, but it also wants to show people that making even small changes can reduce the negative impact on their health.
"As part of our campaign, we have developed a sitting calculator which will help people to calculate the amount of time they spend sitting down every day. The calculator will give you individualised feedback on your results, along with useful tips and advice on how to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting down," Ms Morrissey added.
The sitting calculator can be accessed here
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