Prolonged sitting increases risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and early death
Researchers from the University of Leicester, UK, conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the association of sedentary time with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.
This new study led by Dr. Emma Wilmot, PhD, clinical research fellow in the Diabetes Research Group at the University of Leicester, in collaboration with colleagues from the newly established National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit, find sitting for long periods of time has a two-fold increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and death. This new study merged the results of 18 studies with 794,577 participants.View slideshow: Prolonged sitting and health risks
The results still remained strong even after researchers had taken into account the amount of moderate to vigorous activity people participated in and even those who had met the physical activity guideline could still be harming their health for sitting to rest for long periods of time.
Dr. Wilmot stated "The average adult spends 50-70% of their time sitting so the findings of this study have far reaching implications. 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. 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, says Dr. Wilmot according to a release.
Dr. Stuart Biddle, PhD, of Loughborough University, professor physical activity and health and a co-investigator on the study, said: "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."
In their conclusion the researchers wrote “Sedentary time is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality; the strength of the association is most consistent for diabetes.”
This study is published in Diabetologia.
This is not the first time the University of Leicester had found that sitting for prolonged periods of time is associated to an increased risk of diabetes.
Earlier this year researchers from the Departments of Health Sciences and Cardiovascular Sciences had found women who had remained seated for extended periods of time every day had a greater risk in developing type 2 diabetes.
The study revealed the association between sitting time and diabetes risk is much stronger in women than men. The researchers could not identify why there was a gender difference.
Dr. Thomas Yates, senior research at the university and lead researcher stated "This study provides important new evidence that higher levels of sitting time have a deleterious impact on insulin resistance and chronic low-grade inflammation in women but not men and that this effect is seen regardless of how much exercise is undertaken. This suggests that women who meet the national recommendations of 30 minutes of exercise a day may still be compromising their health if they are seated for the rest of the day.”
This study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, January 2012.
According to the Mayo Clinic it is just not sitting in front of television that is source of concern. Any extended sitting such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel can be harmful.
The Mayo Clinic suggests start out simply by standing instead of sitting when you have the chance.