Most Americans continue to sit for prolonged periods despite public health messages that such inactivity increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, according to a major new study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The research team analyzed surveys of 51,000 people from 2001 to 2016 to track sitting trends in front of TVs and computers and the total amount of time spent sitting on a daily basis. Unlike other studies that have looked at sedentary behaviors, the research is the first to document sitting in a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population across multiple age groups — from children to the elderly — and different racial and ethnic groups.

The research, led by Yin Cao, ScD, an epidemiologist and assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Public Health Sciences, is published April 23 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Read more at Washington University School of Medicine