Sitting Can Lead To Health Risks
October 15, 2012

Sitting For Long Periods Leads To Health Risk, Despite Diet And Exercise

Lee Rannals for — Your Universe Online

Sitting for longer periods of time increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease and death, according to a study published in the journal Diabetologia.

Researchers looked at the results of 18 studies and included a total of 794,577 participants during the study.

They found that those who sit for long periods of time have a two-fold increase in their risk of diabetes, heart disease and death.

"The average adult spends 50-70% of their time sitting so the findings of this study have far reaching implications," Dr. Emma Wilmot, a Clinical Research Fellow in Diabetes and Endocrinology based at the Leicester Diabetes Centre, Leicester General Hospital, said in a statement.

"By simply limiting the time that we spend sitting, we may be able to reduce our risk of diabetes, heart disease and death," Wilmot added. "Our study also showed that the most consistent associations were between sitting and diabetes."

She said this study is an important message because people with risk factors for diabetes may be able to help reduce their future risk of the disease by limiting the time spent sitting.

They found that associations were independent of the amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity undertaken, which suggests even if an individual meets typical physical activity guidelines, their health may be compromised if they sit for long periods of time throughout the day.

"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," Professor Stuart Biddle, of Loughborough University, and a co-investigator on the study, said in a statement. "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."

Professor Melanie Davies, Professor of Diabetes Medicine at the University of Leicester and honorary consultant at University Hospitals of Leicester said the paper has an important message for the public, as well as healthcare professionals.

She said being sedentary is common and dangerous for everyone's long term health, particularly for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Davies added that this link appears to be over and above other lifestyle factors like diet and exercise.