A new study revealed this week that sitting for long periods of time can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and death.
The study, led by the Diabetes Research Group at the University of Leicester, looked at 18 different studies that included a total of 794,577 patients. It found that those who sit for prolonged periods double their risk of diabetes, heart disease, and death. This association was independent of the amount of physical activity people performed, suggeting that even health people may be at risk from sitting for long periods.
"The average adult spends 50-70% of their time sitting, so the findings of this study have far reaching implications," said Dr. Emma Wilmot, lead author of the study and a research fellow at the Leicester Diabetes Centre. "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. "
Stuart Biddle, professor of physical activity and health at Loughborough University and co-investigator on the study, suggests that people can break up long periods at the computer by placing their laptop on the top of a filing cabinet. He also suggests having standing meetings, walking during lunch breaks, and finding something to do rather than sit and watch TV.