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Sitting Time Associated With Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases

Authors recommend more physical activity (Feb. 18)

The more people sit, the higher is their risk of chronic diseases, according to a recent report from Kansas State University and the University of Western Sydney in Australia. The researchers examined the associations of sitting time and chronic diseases in middle-aged Australian men in a study that was published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

The study included 63,048 men aged 45 to 65 years in the Australian state of New South Wales. The study participants reported the presence or absence of various chronic diseases, along with their daily sitting time (categorized as less than 4 hours; 4 to 6 hours; 6 to 8 hours; or more than 8 hours).

Compared with those who reported sitting 4 hours or less per day, men who sat for more than 4 hours per day were significantly more likely to report having a chronic disease, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or hypertension. The reporting of chronic diseases increased as participants indicated that they sat more. Those sitting for at least 6 hours were significantly more likely to report having diabetes.

“We saw a steady stair-step increase in the risk of chronic diseases the more participants sat,” said lead investigator Dr. Richard Rosenkranz. “The group sitting more than 8 hours clearly had the highest risk.”

The study is relevant to office workers sitting at desks and those sitting for long periods, such as truck drivers, he said.

The researchers reported consistent findings in men who had similar physical activity levels, ages, incomes, education, weight, and height. Participants who sat more reported more chronic diseases, even if they had a similar body mass index.

In general, people should get more physical activity and sit less, Rosenkranz said.

Source: Kansas State University; February 18, 2013.

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