Are you sitting for too long ? Watch out – because recent research indicates that remaining seated at a place for extended periods is as bad for health as smoking or over exposure to the sun, say scientists.

Professor Marc Hamilton of the University of Missouri says that people who have to remain seated at their desks for hours in their workplaces, and then place themselves in front of the television after reaching home, are increasing their chances of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

In another study, conducted at the International Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, it has been found that even 2 hours of exercise a day will not compensate for “spending 22 hours sitting on your rear end”.

“People who break up their sitting time – walking to a colleague rather than emailing him, for instance – have a lower risk of diabetes,” said Professor David Dunstan .