Sitting Can Harm Health, Even for Those Who Exercise

MONDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) — Sitting for long periods boosts your risk of diabetes, heart disease and death, even if you work out regularly, a new study contends.

U.K. researchers analyzed data from 18 studies that included more than 794,000 people. They found that people who sit for long periods throughout the day have a two-fold increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and death compared to those who don’t.

This increased risk was not affected by levels of moderate-to-vigorous exercise. This suggests that even if a person meets recommended physical activity guidelines, their health may still be at risk of they sit for long periods of time, the researchers said.

The study was published Oct. 14 in the journal Diabetologia. While the study found a link between sedentary behavior and health risks, it didn’t prove cause and effect.

“The average adult spends 50 to 70 percent of their time sitting, so the findings of this study have far-reaching implications,” study leader Dr. Emma Wilmot, a research fellow in the Diabetes Research Group at the University of Leicester, said in university news release. “By simply limiting the time that we spend sitting, we may be able to reduce our risk of diabetes, heart disease and death.”

“Our study also showed that the most consistent associations were between sitting and diabetes,” Wilmot added. “This is an important message because people with risk factors for diabetes, such as the obese, those of South Asian ethnic origin or those with a family history of diabetes, may be able to help reduce their future risk of diabetes by limiting the time spent sitting.”

There are things you can do to reduce your risk, study co-author Professor Stuart Biddle of Loughborough University suggested.

“There are many ways we can reduce our sitting time, such as breaking up long periods at the computer at work by placing our laptop on a filing cabinet. We can have standing meetings, we can walk during the lunch break, and we can look to reduce TV viewing in the evenings by seeking out less sedentary behaviors,” he said in the news release.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health outlines ways to reduce your heart risks.

– Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Leicester, news release, Oct. 14, 2012

Last Updated: Oct. 15, 2012

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