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Additional Data Links Inactivity to Diabetes and Heart Disease

Study confirms link between these diseases and sedentary time

Consistent with previous studies, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System in New York have found a positive link between sedentary time and heart disease and diabetes — even when people meet U.S. physicial activity guidelines.

To explore the link between sedentary time and heart disease and diabetes, Reuters reports, Qibin Qi and colleagues analyzed data collected from 2008 to 2011 among Hispanic residents of Chicago, Miami, San Diego, and the Bronx in New York. The researchers asked more than 12,000 people to wear activity monitors for 16 hours daily for one week; most participants followed through for at least one day. One average, they were inactive for about 12 hours daily.

Then, researchers sorted participants into four groups based on the amount of sedentary time they logged. Compared to the group with the most physical activity, the least active group had 6% lower levels of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), the good kind that helps reduce the risk for heart disease. The least active group also had 16% higher levels of triglycerides, fats in the blood that can increase the risk of coronary artery disease. This group also had higher levels of sugar in the blood and less ability to process the hormone insulin, indicating a risk of diabetes.

Even when people met U.S. physical activity guidelines — at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous workouts — more hours of sedentary time were still linked to an elevated risk of diabetes and heart disease.

One limitation of the study is that the motion trackers didn’t distinguish between sitting and standing, the researchers acknowledge in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, with most fatalities linked to heart attacks and strokes, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). An unhealthy diet, obesity, inactivity, smoking, and drinking can all increase the risk of developing these diseases.

Source: Reuters; September 29, 2015.

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