David Bassett Jr., a professor of health and exercise science at the University of Tennessee, said that "when one looks at time trends in physical activity over the past century, it is clear that people are doing more structured, purposeful exercise than before."
However, what has changed is that people are doing less walking, household chores and manual labor than in the past, he said. "We are also spending more time in sedentary activities like television watching, computer use and desk jobs," Bassett explained.
"This study adds to a growing body of evidence that the amount of time spent in sedentary activity, as distinct from the amount of time spent in purposeful exercise, can affect your health," he said.
For more information on heart disease, visit the American Heart Association.
SOURCES: David Dunstan, Ph.D., professor and head, Physical Activity Laboratory, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Victoria, Australia; David Bassett Jr., Ph.D., professor, health and exercise science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., professor, cardiology, University of California, Los Angeles; Jan. 11, 2010, Circulation, online
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