Research finds out how long Irish people sit down in a typical day

The Irish Heart Foundation is launching its "Chairs Can Kill" campaign to raise awareness of the risks to people's heart health of sitting for long periods of time.

In conjunction with the campaign, the IHF commissioned a study to find out how long the average person in Ireland spends sitting down every day.

It found that Irish people spend around 7.3 hours a day sitting down, including 3.6 hours spent sitting at work, school or college.

The Ipsos MRBI poll for the IHF found almost 60% of people reported that their college or workplace does not create opportunities for them to sit less during the day.

Janis Morrissey, Head of Health Promotion, Information and Training with the Irish Heart Foundation, said: “Our research shows that the average person in Ireland spends 7.3 hours every day sitting down and 3.6 of these hours are at work, school or college.

"Sitting for long periods of time increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Even more worryingly, there is now increasing evidence that the positive health benefits of exercise may not entirely counteract the negative effects of a mostly sedentary lifestyle."

    The research found:

  • 59% of people surveyed reported that their school/college/workplace does not create opportunities to sit less during the day.
  • When asked whether they had made changes to try to reduce the amount of time they spend sitting down, just 46% of survey respondents said they had. The majority of these (57%) had done so by introducing more activity into their leisure time. Those who had made changes reported that they had:

    Introduced more activity during leisure time – 57%

    Included more activity/standing breaks in your work/school day – 44%

    Changed the way you commute – 4%

    Reduced the time you spend sitting watching TV/in front of a screen – 2%

    Changed your workstation – 2%

    Got a fitness tracker – 2%

  • 35% of people are unaware that time spent sitting is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. In comparison, many risk factors had an awareness level of over 90%, e.g.:

    High blood pressure – 96%

    Smoking – 96%

    High cholesterol – 95%

    Stress – 94%

    Family history – 92%

    Alcohol – 91%

  • On average, people in Ireland report they spend 7.3 hours on a typical weekday sitting down. This breaks down into:

    2 hours spent seated while commuting to work, school or college

    6 hours spent seated while at work, school or college

    5 hours spent seated in leisure time

  • Students report they spend 8.9 hours sitting down every day and people aged 15-24 spend 8.4 hours a day sitting down

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