Can Sitting = Depression?

The Lancet is perhaps one of the most esteemed peer reviewed journals in history and, if the media is to be believed, it recently ran a study showing a link between prolonged sitting of more than 8 hours and experiencing a higher risk of depression. Or did it?

Rather than looking at desk-based staff directly, the study focussed on a very specific age-group. That of 18 year-olds. And whilst the pattern it found is disturbing (that depression rises in this age group when light physical activity is replaced by sedentary activity), the findings are not exclusive to desk based staff. Rather, it is an assumed outcome, rather than a proved one.

So what does that mean for the many office workers among us? Well, this study’s answer to protecting yourself from depression when you are 18 is to reduce your daily sitting average by 2 hours a day between the ages of 12 and 16 years, resulting in a 16–22% reduction in depression. So, to be on the safe-side, that’s a good target for everyone else too, no matter what the age!