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Sitting less may extend American lives: study

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PARIS — American adults may boost their life expectancy by two years by sitting for fewer than three hours a day, researchers said Tuesday, while admitting this was a tough task.

Reducing television viewing to under two hours a day could similarly add 1.4 years, the US team said in a paper in the online journal BMJ Open.

A recent study found that US adults spend about 7.7 hours per day engaged in “sedentary behaviour”.

“Yes, this would be a challenge,” co-author Peter Katzmarzyk of the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre told AFP of the team’s proposal to reduce sitting — given the amount of time most people spend behind their desks at work.

“On the other hand, there are many strategies to reduce sitting time, such as standing more at work using a standing desk or treadmill desk, having walking meetings, going to see someone down the hall rather than emailing them etc.”

The research was based on a comparison of population health and lifestyle statistics with polling data on inactivity.

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Other studies have linked extended periods of sitting or watching television to diabetes and death from heart disease or stroke.

“We now have some physiological studies showing that when you are sitting, your leg muscles (the largest in the body) are completely inactive, which causes problems with how you handle your blood sugar and how you handle cholesterol,” Katzmarzyk said by email.

“The results of this study indicate that extended sitting time and TV viewing time may have the potential to reduce life expectancy in the USA,” added the study.

“… a significant shift in behaviour change at the population level is required to make demonstrable improvements in life expectancy.”

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The paper stressed this was a theoretical estimate, and should not be taken to mean that people who are less active should expect to live 1.4 or two years fewer than the rest.

“Life expectancy is a population statistic and it does not apply to individuals.”

The study used US population data and could not be applied to other countries, Katzmarzyk said.

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‘This American dream’: Pain overwhelms family of drowned migrants

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"They had this American dream," sobbed Rosa Ramirez after images of her drowned son and granddaughter, discovered face-down on the banks of the Rio Grande between Mexico and the United States, shocked the world on Wednesday.

The poignant pictures of Oscar Alberto Martinez and his toddler daughter Valeria -- not yet two years old -- has sparked outrage back home in El Salvador, where around 200 migrants like them leave for the United States daily, preparing to take similar risks.

"The pain has been immense. I still can't believe that my boy and my little granddaughter are dead, they only wanted to get to the United States.... they had this American dream -- to achieve a better life," Oscar's mother told AFP.

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Venezuela government says thwarted attempted ‘coup’

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Venezuela's socialist government said Wednesday it had derailed an attempted coup, claiming the United States, Colombia and Chile colluded in a military plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro and install a general and former defense minister in his place.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the plan involved active and retired army officers and was to have been executed between Sunday and Monday this past weekend.

"We were in all the meetings to plan the coup d'Etat. We were in all the conferences," Rodriguez said, suggesting that government informers had infiltrated the alleged plotters during planning meetings.

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Democrats believe Mueller testimony could be tipping point for impeachment: CNN

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On Wednesday, CNN congressional correspondent Manu Raju reported that some House Democrats view special counsel Robert Mueller's upcoming public testimony to the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees in July as a potential tipping point that could sway both Democratic leaders and the American people in favor of opening an impeachment probe.

"Democrats who support opening up an impeachment inquiry believe this could bolster the calls to open up formal proceedings, perhaps shift public opinion, perhaps encourage the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to move off of her opposition to opening up an impeachment probe because of what Bob Mueller will say," said Raju.

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