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Sitting for a long period of time may be bad for your bones

Photo: Aussies feature in bone health research
Australian researchers are working with an international team to understand the relationship between sitting for long periods and bone health.

Sitting for long periods may be bad for your bones, with Australian researchers contributing to a global study to explore links to osteoporosis.

Experts at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne have teamed up with researchers in the United Kingdom to find out if breaking up sedentary behaviour could reverse or slow down any potential damage of the disease.

"We know that in extreme environments, such as total bed rest, bone loss is very high," the institute's Professor Neville Owen said in a statement on Thursday.
"In everyday life, long periods of immobility such as this are rare however, sedentary lifestyles are commonplace in modern society, through transport, work and leisure.

"If the proof of concept study identifies a significant effect of sedentary behaviour on bone metabolism, promoting frequent breaks from sitting could be a possible, and simple, preventative intervention for osteoporosis in later life."

The study will use data and blood samples already collected - but yet to be analysed - in previous sedentary behaviour studies by the research group.

About 1.2 million Australians are estimated to have osteoporosis while 6.3 million fellow residents have low bone density, the institute states.

The institute's Professor David Dunstan also added the study would shed light on the mechanisms behind osteoporosis and give a greater understanding of the relationship between lifestyle and bone health.

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