Swap sitting for sleep to improve your health? (#ICPAPH12 / #beactive2012)

Yesterday I had the privilege of presenting during the same session as Dr Matthew Buman at the International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health.  Dr Buman’s work focuses on the relationship between physical activity, sedentary behaviour, sleep and health, and his talk was on a new cross-sectional study which examined the potential health impact of replacing time spent sitting down (e.g. sedentary behaviour) with light activity, moderate-to-vigorous activity, or even sleep.

Not surprisingly, he found that replacing sitting time with moderate or vigorous physical activity provides the biggest health benefit.  However, his analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggests that simply replacing your sitting time with light activity (e.g. standing or walking), or even sleep could result in significant health benefits.  This reminded me of a recent editorial that I published with Dr Jean-Philippe Chaput in the British Journal of Nutrition, which asked whether it could be healthier to sleep through your favourite tv programs, rather than watching them.  The editorial was intentionally provocative, and while this new work by Dr Buman is cross-sectional, it is part of a growing body of evidence suggesting that light activity and sleep need greater attention when it comes to health research.  This work also highlights the importance of studying the full 24-hour cycle of human movement, rather than the traditional focus on MVPA, which accounts for <5% of the total day.

My brief interview with Dr Buman can be seen below.  You can find out more about the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at ASU here.

Tomorrow is the last day of the conference, but I’ve done a few other interviews during my time in Sydney which I will upload over the coming days and weeks.  I hope everyone enjoyed the conference, and for other recaps of what’s been happening over the past few days here at the Convention Centre be sure to check out the official conference blog at beactiveblog.com.


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