People who sit down for more than 10 hours a day are more likely to develop dementia compared to those with more active lifestyles, a new study suggests.

Academics from the University of Southern California and the University of Arizona have found that individuals with an inactive lifestyle are at higher risk of being diagnosed with the memory loss condition.

During the study, the team of researchers examined the health data of roughly 50,000 people, all of whom were aged 60 or over.

Each participant wore an activity tracker on their wrist so that the scientists could observe how active they are.

Inactive lifestyle behaviours that were detected during the study included playing video games, using a computer, driving and watching TV, as well as sitting down at work or whilst commuting to work.

More than 400 participants went on to develop dementia during the six-year-long study, the results have revealed.

According to the findings, the participants who spent 10 hours sitting per day were eight per cent more at risk of developing dementia compared to those who spent closer to nine hours a day sitting down.

People who spent 12 hours a day sitting down were 63% more at risk of developing dementia, while those who were inactive for 15 hours were three times more likely to develop the condition.

Chief author Professor Gene Alexander said: “We were surprised to find that the risk of dementia begins to rapidly increase after 10 hours spent sedentary each day, regardless of how the sedentary time was accumulated.

“This suggests that it is the total time spent sedentary that drove the relationship between sedentary behaviour and dementia risk.”

Professor Alexander added: “Importantly lower levels of sedentary behaviour, up to around 10 hours, were not associated with increased risk.”

Joint author Professor David Raichlen said: “Many of us are familiar with the common advice to break up long periods of sitting by getting up every 30 minutes or so to stand or walk around.

“We found that once you take into account the total time spent sedentary, the length of individual sedentary periods didn’t really matter.”

The study, published in the journal Jama Network Open

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