New Study: A 20 Minute Daily Walk for a Longer Life

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Today, a new study found that replacing even a small amount of that sedentary time with some physical activity could reduce early death for people of all weights and waist sizes. A growing body of research is linking sedentary behavior to cancer risk.make-time-break-time

The new analysis, published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, used data from over 334,000 people in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer Nutrition (EPIC) study to determine if overweight, obesity or large waist size would affect whether reducing sedentary behavior improves survival.

The investigators compared rates of mortality over twelve years, between four levels of physical activity (inactive, moderately inactive, moderately active and active) and categorized by BMI and waist size.

Using the inactive group as the comparison group, they calculated that just being moderately active would theoretically reduce the number of deaths by about 7 percent, about double that of avoiding obesity.

They found that for all groups, the most reduced risk in death was between the inactive and moderately active groups. For the groups who were overweight, obese and had large waists, a large reduced risk was also seen between the inactive and moderately inactive.

The authors estimated that to move from inactive from moderately active, an inactive person would need to walk briskly about 20 minutes a day, equal to increasing the calories they burn by about 90-110.

This study adds to the evidence on sedentary behavior and health risks, showing that making modest changes in how much you move can have a significant impact on your health. For cancer prevention, AICR recommends getting at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, and limiting sedentary time.

You can put this idea into action by signing up for our New American Plate Challenge – a 12-week program to help you move more, eat smart and move toward a healthier weight.

Read more about EPIC and its funding.


Author: Alice RD

Alice G. Bender, MS, RDN, is the Director of Nutrition Programs at AICR. She helps put the science of cancer prevention into action by providing tips and tools to choose nutritious and delicious foods. Alice has guided thousands of individuals to healthier lives through diet changes and choices.

3 thoughts on “New Study: A 20 Minute Daily Walk for a Longer Life”

  1. 1. It strengthens your heart
    2. It lowers disease risk
    3. It keeps weight in check
    4. It can help prevent dementia
    5. …and osteoporosis, too
    “Walking counts as a weight-bearing activity,” says Amory. “It stimulates and strengthens bones, increasing their density – really important, especially for women. It also helps maintain healthy joints so may stave off conditions such as arthritis.”
    6. It tones your legs, bum – and tum
    8. It boosts your vitamin D levels
    10. It makes you happy

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