Study: Coffee can counteract the deadly habit of sitting all day

Sedentary lifestyles, marked by prolonged sitting, have been linked to increased risks of chronic diseases.

In contrast, coffee, often regarded as a healthful beverage, may hold benefits that counter these risks. A recent study published in BMC Public Health delves into how coffee consumption might mitigate the adverse health impacts of sitting for extended periods.

The research analyzed data from 10,639 American adults in the 2007–2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey [1]. Researchers tracked the mortality data through to the end of 2019, focusing on deaths from all causes and specifically from cardiovascular diseases (CVD).

Participants reported their daily sitting time, with durations categorized mainly as less than 4 or more than 8 hours per day. Their coffee consumption was quantified based on a 24-hour dietary recall.

The analysis primarily aimed to understand how these two factors, individually and in combination, relate to mortality risks.

Key findings include [2]:

  • Participants who sat for over 8 hours daily faced a 46% increased risk of death from any cause and a 79% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases compared to those who sat less than 4 hours.
  • High coffee drinkers (top quartile of consumption) experienced significantly lower mortality rates, 33% less from all causes and 54% less from CVD than non-coffee drinkers.
  • Most strikingly, the study found that the detrimental effects of sitting more than six hours a day were primarily seen in non-coffee drinkers. In contrast, regular coffee consumers who sat for extended periods did not show the same elevated mortality risks.

The researchers conclude that while sedentary behavior is a known risk factor for increased mortality, regular coffee consumption may reduce these risks, particularly concerning cardiovascular health.

In this sense, coffee could be a simple, effective way to counteract the harm caused by sedentary lifestyles. Yet, further research is needed to understand precisely how this protective effect occurs.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/index.htm
[2] https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-024-18515-9

Photograph: vadymvdrobot/Envato
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