Nigeria: Sitting Too Long Poses a Health Risk, Experts Warn

Many Nigerians are not aware that the more time they spend sitting down, the more danger it poses to their health. Experts have tagged it, sitting disease. Prof Ademola Ajuwon, of the Department of Health Promotion and Education, Faculty of Public Health, University of Ibadan said sitting for too long is way of being inactive and a major cause of increase of non-communicable diseases in Nigeria. The public health expert stressed that most people sit for too long before computers, watching the television, at meetings, in the toilet, and other functions, thereby increasing their inability to perform enough physical activity. Sitting for too long, according to him, is not good for the body as the body is designed to stand, so as to allow the muscles to stretch.He said, “Standing prevents many of the non-communicable diseases, not diseases from bites of mosquitoes, but diseases that take a long time to manifest such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and others. When you sit for too long, you are not able to burn fat, which increase the chances of being overweight and obese later. Obesity in itself leads to many diseases.” Sitting in the traffic for hours or travelling long distances may not be preventable as peculiar to the city, but physical activity can be achieved “in other situations and places such as, at work, home and other functions. The bulk of the time we spend is at work and we have control over that. We should be conscious of it so we can live healthier,” Ajuwon said. He recommended that “for every one hour you sit, stand up for five minutes. Within that five minutes, move around, stretch your legs. If you are able to do that, you will be able to prevent many diseases.” The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Developmental services, College of medicine University of Lagos (CMUL) Prof Folashade Ogunsola, in her own recommendation said, “In your place of work, have a stand so that you can do some things while upright” She noted that many people were affected by the sitting disease as they are fond of sitting all the time and that is affecting their health unknowingly. “Sitting for too long makes people less active and it predisposes them to certain diseases. Too much sitting translates to inactivity. Those who don’t want to die prematurely will take cognisance of their health so as to avoid heart attack, stroke, diabetes and other diseases. Eat well, avoid junks, get up and take something by yourself instead of sending someone all the time while you sit all day. All those little things will help,” Ogunsola said.

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