Ars Technica’s health reporter argues that a new study suggesting sitting will kill you “is kind of a raging dumpster fire. It’s funded by Big Soda and riddled with weaknesses — including not measuring sitting.” An anonymous reader quotes this report:
Let’s start with the money: It was funded in part by Coca-Cola… [I]t’s hard to look past the fact that this is exactly the type of health and nutrition research Coke wants. In fact, Coca-Cola secretly spent $1.5 million to fund an entire network of academic researchers whose goal was to shift the national health conversation away from the harms of sugary beverages. Instead, their research focused on the benefits of exercise — i.e., the health risks of sedentary and inactive lifestyles. The research network disbanded after The New York Times published an investigation on the network’s funding in 2015…
It didn’t actually measure sitting… In their words, “Our study has several limitations. First, the Actical accelerometer cannot distinguish between postures (such as sitting vs. standing); thus, we relied on an intensity-only definition of sedentary behavior.” The “intensity-only” definition of sedentary behavior is based on metabolic equivalents, basically units defined by how much oxygen a person uses up doing various activities. But those definitions are also not cut and dried. There are no clear lines between lying down, sitting, standing in place, or light movement… Then there’s the participant data: It’s not representative — like, at all… At the time of wearing the accelerometer, the most active group’s mean age was 65. The mean age of the least active group: 75.
Groups were assigned based on just a week’s worth of data — or less. And the people placed in the least-active group were already more likely to be smokers, to have diabetes and hypertension, and to have a history of coronary heart disease and stroke.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.